Robert G. Smith, PLLC

Modifying alimony after mandatory early retirement

When couples go through a divorce in New York, one spouse might be ordered to make monthly alimony payments to the other spouse. Alimony is usually only a factor in divorces that involve one spouse who is at least partially supported by the other spouse. After the divorce, however, alimony obligations may have to be modified due to changes in the financial circumstances of the paying spouse.

One factor that could lead to a modification of an order for alimony is mandatory early retirement. Employees in certain occupations are required to retire at an age that is well below the national retirement age of 67. If the paying party is obligated to retire early, the monthly alimony obligations may be reduced or ended.

Some alimony agreements include provisions that address a paying party's alimony obligations after retirement. If there is no retirement provision and a person is forced to retire early, the paying party may ask a court to modify the alimony obligation. To do this, the individual would need to show the court that they couldn't maintain their standard of living during retirement while making alimony payments. The court will consider the paying party's ability to pay as well as the recipient's need for financial support.

Early retirement is just one of the factors that could create the need for a spousal support order to be modified. A person who becomes unemployed or acquires extra expenses may also be unable to make the same alimony payments that were ordered during the divorce proceedings. In such situations, a family law attorney might recommend the filing of a petition with the court for a modification of an alimony order.

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