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How a supporting spouse’s retirement impacts a support order

On Behalf of | Sep 12, 2022 | Spousal Support |

Spousal support is a key part of many Virginia divorce cases. Among the issues that are weighed include the lifestyle from the marriage, the income and potential income of both parties, contributions during the marriage and more.

In many cases, the party who is paying support will ask for a modification in the amount. There are many reasons for this including job loss or sudden medical expenses. A common reason is if the paying party retires from their job. From both perspectives, it is important to understand how the law handles this situation.

What does retirement mean with spousal support?

Retirement is viewed as a material change in circumstances. This means it alters the facts and conditions that were in place when the order was put into effect. This can mean the support order could be modified. It does not necessarily mean it will be reduced. It could be increased or terminated altogether.

The court decides on the amount when the couple divorces. It will also weigh certain factors upon the retirement of the supporting spouse amid a modification request. It will assess whether retirement was considered at the time of the award. This may be common in a gray divorce where one or both spouses are older and retirement is on the horizon. The court will also check to see if retirement is mandatory or if it is being done voluntarily.

Income can differ after retirement and the court will see if the amount has changed. The parties’ age and health will be assessed. This could be integral as the receiving party may need to supplement their income with employment or the supporting party could need part-time work to pay the support order and support themselves. The length of time for which support has already been paid and the amount is part of the process. Finally, the court will look at the assets and properties from the time the support order was put in place to the request for modification or termination.

Navigating a requested modification of spousal support may require assistance

Retirement is a major life change. Part of that is adjusting to a new financial situation and perhaps reducing debt as needed. If a person paying spousal support wants to modify the amount or terminate it completely, they can ask to do so based on their retirement. The receiving party also has rights in this situation. From both viewpoints, it is useful to have professional help with these complex circumstances. Discussing the case with legal professionals can provide information and representation.