You divorced years ago, and you’ve been paying alimony in Utah ever since.
Now, you’re thinking about retirement, but you don’t know if you can because you’re paying alimony.
You ask yourself, “Do I keep paying alimony after I retire?” If the answer is yes, then retirement is off the table. You won’t have enough to live on.
If the answer is no, that you don’t pay alimony after retirement, when and how do you go about ending alimony?
The following should help clear things up a bit.
Do I Keep Paying Alimony after I Retire?
To answer this question, let’s look at how courts look at alimony and retirement.
If you are receiving alimony and your ex retires and stops paying, the court will look at your situation and ask a few questions to help determine what to do.
- Does the spouse receiving alimony still need alimony?
Alimony is based, primarily, on whether there is a need for alimony. If there is no need, then a court’s very unlikely to award alimony at all.
Normally, you only ask if a spouse needs alimony once (during divorce litigation), but when one person stops paying alimony at divorce, the court will see if the person receiving alimony still needs it.
If the person doesn’t need it anymore, because income has gone way up over the years, then the court is more likely to discontinue alimony when the person paying retires.
- Can the spouse paying alimony afford to pay it?
If there is still need for alimony, then the court will turn to whether the person paying can still afford to pay.
This means the person paying will need to prove income has decreased so much and living expenses have increased so much that there’s no money left over at the end of the month.
If there’s no money anymore to pay alimony, there’s a good chance alimony will end. If there’s still sufficient money to pay alimony, then there’s no reason to terminate alimony, despite retirement.
- Was Retirement Normal and Necessary?
There’s retirement, and then there’s retirement.
What I mean is some people retire after twenty years on a job, and then go back to work. When they do this, the “retiree” almost always makes more than before retirement (they have retirement coming in plus income from a new job).
On the other hand, some people retire at a normal and natural age for retirement, then they live off their pension or retirement income.
Courts will look at which of the group the person paying alimony belongs to.
If the person paying is part of the first group, then it’s pretty unlikely alimony would be terminated. This makes sense since there’s almost certainly money to continue paying alimony.
If the person belongs to the second group, there’s a much higher likelihood there won’t be money to pay alimony anymore, which means it’s more likely alimony would terminate at retirement.
Bottom Line Regarding “Do I Keep Paying Alimony after I Retire?”
In our experience, the vast majority of the time, people are retiring cannot afford to pay alimony, which means alimony ends upon retirement.
When and How Do I Go About Ending Alimony at Retirement?
But even if alimony ends upon retirement, how do you go about ending it?
Hint: don’t just stop paying alimony. This is a good way to get dragged in to court on a motion for contempt.
Here’s the correct way to handle ending alimony when you retire: file a document with the court modifying your divorce decree and asking to end alimony.
You do this when you retire. Not before. The court won’t entertain a change to alimony if you’re simply contemplating retirement, or you might retire in a few months. The judge wants to know that you have already retired before he or she will terminate alimony.
Ultimately, if you don’t do things the correct way, and you simply stop paying alimony, you run a very real risk of having to pay alimony after retirement.
Be proactive. Get this taken care of.
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