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How Voluntary Retirement Affects Alimony


The purpose of alimony, also known as spousal support, is to provide financial assistance to a spouse during and after a divorce who makes less income or has a lower earning potential than the other spouse. But what if the spouse paying alimony wishes to retire? Voluntary retirement has the potential to impact a spousal support case, and the experienced Tampa family law attorneys at Blair H. Chan, III can help you navigate this complex case. To learn more, call or contact our office to schedule a consultation.

Factors Considered for Alimony 

In any Florida divorce, the court weighs a number of factors when determining whether, and what types, of alimony are appropriate in a case. If the spouses are judged to have the “need and ability” to pay spousal support, the judge weighs the following factors:

  • The standard of living established during the marriage
  • The length of the marriage
  • Each spouse’s age, physical health, and emotional health
  • Both spouse’s financial resources,
  • Each spouse’s earning capacity, educational level, vocational skills, and employability,
  • Both spouse’s contributions to the marriage
  • Whether either spouse will have parental responsibilities to minor children,
  • Tax consequences of alimony,
  • All sources of income to both spouses, and
  • Any other factor the court deems necessary to create a fair alimony award. 

How Voluntary Retirement Impacts Alimony 

After the divorce is finalized, if the spouse who is paying alimony decides to voluntarily retire they can petition the court for a modification of alimony payments. In order to qualify for a modification of spousal support payments, the retirement must alter the income of the spouse paying alimony substantially. It must also occur months, or preferably years, after the finalization of the divorce because it cannot be known to that spouse at the time that the divorce terms were being finalized.

If retirement reduces the income of the spouse paying support significantly, the court can use this as reason to reduce or eliminate alimony payments; however, that reduction is not automatic. The court must determine whether the retirement is reasonable given the payor’s age, health, and motivation for retirement in addition to the type of work performed and the average age at which people in that profession typically retire.

The court may also weigh whether the spousal support payments were agreed upon by the couple or ordered by the court when determining whether to modify payments based on retirement as well as how much the recipient spouse has been paid in support prior to a request for reduction or elimination of alimony payments. Finally, if alimony payments were part of a larger property distribution agreement the court may not take retirement into consideration, and the full amount must still be paid to the recipient spouse.

Talk to Our Office 

Do you have more questions about how retirement may alter spousal support payments in your divorce case? If so, call or contact the experienced family law attorneys at the law office of Blair H. Chan, III in Tampa Bay today to schedule a consultation of your case.



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