Can retirement impact my alimony payments?


When a marriage ends, the higher-earning spouse is typically required to pay spousal support, also known as alimony, to their lower-earning counterpart. This financial assistance aims to help the lower-earning spouse maintain the same standard of living established during the marriage. Depending on the length of the marriage, the higher-earning spouse will be obligated to pay for a certain period. After dedicating years of hard work, retirement is a long-awaited and well-deserved reward. However, for some, it often means relying on savings since there is no longer a steady income. As you plan for retirement, you may wonder whether retirement can impact alimony payments. Please continue reading to learn whether retired spouses have to pay alimony in Massachusetts and how our knowledgeable Bristol County Alimony Lawyers can help you understand your support obligations after divorce. 

Do retired spouses have to pay alimony?

As you plan for the future and retirement, it’s crucial to consider your financial security, especially if you are obligated to pay alimony to your ex-spouse. Alimony payments are typically limited to a specific duration, during which the payer must provide monthly payments to their former spouse. In Massachusetts, four types of alimony are available to spouses: general term, rehabilitative, reimbursement, and transitional.

When the alimony payor reaches the full retirement age, which is between 65-68 years old, their alimony orders will terminate. Essentially, alimony can be terminated at retirement if the spouse can receive Social Security benefits. This is because the court can modify an existing alimony order when there is a substantial change in circumstances. When you retire, you no longer have a steady income, meaning you may not be able to afford your monthly alimony payments. As such, this significant change in financial circumstances can warrant the court to terminate alimony. Therefore, retired spouses usually are not required to pay alimony as this substantial change in their income is grounds for termination.

Should I address retirement in my divorce settlement agreement?

Furthermore, it’s imperative to review your divorce settlement agreement. As mentioned above, alimony obligations have a timeline for how long you must provide this financial support. In the agreement, you and your former spouse likely agreed about when your alimony obligation will end. This means you may have stipulated that your support obligations end after retirement. Therefore, it’s vital to plan for retirement before your divorce is final as it can because your support obligation will be dependent on your divorce settlement agreement.

If you’re considering a divorce, it is in your best interest to contact a determined lawyer from The Law Offices of Cynthia L. Hanley, P.C., who can help you safeguard your hard-earned assets for the future. We are prepared to help you understand your support obligations after retirement.