Spousal Support and Retirement


In most cases, spousal support is only awarded on a temporary basis after a Pasadena divorce. However, if you divorce in your 50s, there is a possibility that you might still be paying spousal support when you're ready to retire.

In re Marriage of Reynolds (1998) 63 Cal.App.4th 1373 says that you are allowed to retire at age 65. Beyond this date, you can't be forced to work to support your former spouse.

If you want to retire before age 65, the scenario becomes a little trickier. If you've been forced out of your job and have health issues that prevent you from finding a new position, you can ask the court to reduce or eliminate your spousal support payments based on a change in income. This can be done whenever you have new circumstances that make it hard to meet your previous obligations.

However, if you were simply eligible for early retirement and decided that you wanted to exit the workforce early on your own free will, you risk having imputed income entered into your spousal support calculation. This means support would be set on what you would have earned at your old job or what you'd be expected to earn at another position suited to your skills.

A judge's discretion to use imputed income for spousal support awards is an attempt to discourage people from willfully becoming unemployed or underemployed to shirk their financial obligations. Imputed income is used in child support cases as well.

Mediation is often recommended as a good alternative if the supporting spouse wants to retire early and is concerned about continuing alimony payments. Mediation involves using the services of a neutral third party to come to a solution that both parties find fair, such as a lump sum exchange of cash or property to offset the end of spousal support payments or modifying the percentage of retirement income the supported spouse is eligible to receive.

How Can We Help?

Please call our office at (626) 683-8113 or email us at info@PasadenaLawOffice.com if you have questions about your spousal support payments. Our team of skilled Pasadena divorce attorneys can explain what your options are as you approach retirement age.