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Spousal maintenance (or alimony) can be a temporary or permanent order. A temporary spousal maintenance order outlines the specific obligations for support – such as how many months or years the alimony must be paid. For a permanent spousal maintenance order there are a few reasons that will allow you to modify the award. As you think about retirement, you may wonder how your support obligation may impact the future.

Requirements to Modify a Permanent Spousal Order

To modify a spousal maintenance order, one of the following must occur:

  • The death of the payer;
  • The remarriage of the recipient of support; or
  • An substantial change in financial circumstances

While the first two situations seem self-explanatory, a substantial change in financial circumstances can be complex. The court will be looking for a change that makes the spousal maintenance amount unreasonable and unfair. Retirement under some conditions may constitute a financial change of circumstances.

Retirement in Good Faith

If retirement is to be considered a significant change of circumstances, the retirement has to be in “good faith.” This means the action was made with honest or sincere intentions and not to avoid paying spousal support. While there is no mandatory or set age of retirement, the common age of retirement is 65. In the court’s eyes, the closer a paying individual is to 65 years old the more likely the retirement is in good faith.

If the opposing side contests the retirement and claims it is in bad faith, the court will analyze each case individually. Some of the common considered factors may include:

  • The payer’s age;
  • The payer’s employment history;
  • The payer’s finances;
  • The payer’s health;
  • Industry standards for retirement; and
  • Employer policies of retirement

Whether you are thinking about retirement or currently retired, it is important to consult with an attorney about your spousal support obligation. Our family law attorneys have handle hundreds of spousal support cases in the metro area. We are ready to help you. To schedule your initial consultation, contact our legal team at (763) 783-5146 or submit an online contact inquiry request through our website.