Retirement Does Not Automatically Reduce Alimony Payments
The state has an interest in the payment of alimony. Alimony is designed to provide a former spouse with a way to support themselves after a divorce, which prevents that former spouse from becoming a financial burden on the state. The former spouse’s financial support obligation is kept private in order to conserve state resources.
Another way to determine whether or not your alimony obligations can be adjusted upon retirement is by looking at your divorce settlement agreement or court order issued upon your divorce. If your agreement has conditions that limit modification to future alimony payments, those conditions may override anything else. It’s important to consult with a New Jersey lawyer familiar with alimony issues if you have questions or concerns about this topic. Call Villani & DeLuca today for a consultation.
Reasons Alimony can be Terminated
This interest of the state explains why in certain circumstances alimony, by operation of law, terminates. One example when alimony will stop is upon the death of the spouse receiving the alimony payments. In such a circumstance, there is obviously no more need to provide for that person’s financial support. Similarly, the death of the spouse paying alimony will also end the alimony payment plan.
Alimony also terminates by operation of law when the receiving spouse gets re-married, the rationale there being that the new spouse will provide financial support for the individual.
Will Retirement Terminate or Decrease My Alimony Payments?
A gray area in New Jersey law with respect to the downward adjustment or termination of alimony is whether a payee spouse’s retirement will result in a decrease or termination of his or her alimony payment obligation. The answer, which emerges from New Jersey case law, is that a payee’s retirement is not necessarily by itself a sufficient condition to cause a reduction or termination of the alimony payment obligation. However, a party who retires in good faith at age 65 is entitled to a hearing on whether there is such a change in circumstances that the alimony obligation should be modified.
Retirement Must Create a Material Change for Reduction
If the retirement of the alimony paying spouse results in a material change in his or her ability to continue the alimony payment schedule, then a downward modification or maybe even termination will likely be granted. Each case will present different facts, and the courts in New Jersey recognize the need, and reserve for themselves the authority to treat each case accordingly.
Changes in circumstances justifying a reduction or termination of alimony must be substantial and ongoing in nature. A court won’t modify spousal support unless the change has been in effect for at least several months and is likely to continue indefinitely. Some examples of circumstances that may result in a modification include:
- Increase in either spouse’s income
- Involuntary decrease in either spouse’s income
- Increase in the supported spouse’s cost of living
- Increase in the financial obligations of the paying spouse
- Cohabitation with a new partner
Get Advice from a NJ Family Law Attorney on Alimony
Vincent C. DeLuca of Villani & DeLuca, P.C. is certified by the New Jersey Supreme Court as a Matrimonial Attorney. Mr. DeLuca, whose practice is devoted to family law in Ocean County and Monmouth County, has years of experience representing divorcing clients whose cases involve the payment of alimony by one spouse to another. He can therefore answer your questions if you are retiring and you wish to find out if your alimony obligations can be reduced or terminated. Call Villani & DeLuca at 732-965-3350 for a free, no obligation consultation with one of Villani & DeLuca’s knowledgeable New Jersey divorce lawyers.