Does a Retired Spouse Have to Pay Alimony in New Jersey?
Alimony agreements are rarely meant to last forever in New Jersey, so it should not be a surprise that many retired spouses do not have to continue to pay spousal support. However, how exactly a retirement changes an alimony agreement that already exists between a couple can vary. Our Chatham alimony attorneys are ready to help if you or your retired spouse want to make any changes to your arrangement.
Can a Retired Spouse Modify an Alimony Agreement?
Yes, retirement is actually a valid reason to modify an existing alimony agreement. After all, the original agreement was made when the paying spouse was making a certain amount of money. If their income declines due to retirement, it does seem fair to revisit the alimony agreement and make sure that the retired spouse is not going to deal with too much of a financial burden.
It is important to note that the retired spouse might not necessarily get to escape their alimony obligation. The court will consider a few different factors, including the circumstances surrounding the retirement, in order to figure out what kind of new alimony deal would be fair to everyone.
What Will the Court Consider Before Adjusting Alimony?
One thing that could be particularly important is when the paying spouse retires. Is this the normal, expected retirement age or are they getting the chance to retire earlier than most people? Generally, people are expected to retire around the age of 65 when they can start collecting social security benefits. So the timing of the retirement can actually factor into a new alimony agreement.
If the spouse retired early, the court will want to see that they had good reason to. Maybe their job is physically demanding or they were given a financial incentive to retire early. If it seems like they just retired to get out of paying alimony, a judge is not going to relieve them of the obligation.
When a spouse retires at the expected retirement age, the court has a few considerations to make. A judge should look at:
- The age of both spouses
- The health of both spouses
- Whether the retirement happened earlier than the original alimony agreement expected
- How the retirement will affect the financial health of both spouses
- Whether the retirement of the paying spouse was mandatory or voluntary
If the paying spouse’s retirement looks like a reasonable move, all things considered, then they can probably adjust the alimony payments or end their obligations entirely.
Contact Our Family Lawyers
If you or your retired spouse want to change your alimony agreement, make sure that you have an experienced attorney on your side. We can help you argue for a deal that is fair to everyone, so contact Lazor Rantas, PC and schedule a consultation with our team to learn more about how we can be of assistance.