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Can I Reduce or Stop Alimony by Retiring?

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Yes, you can reduce alimony by retiring. Recent changes in Florida divorce and alimony laws have made it easier to terminate or reduce alimony payments. Under the new laws, as the paying spouse, you can petition the court to reduce or stop alimony payments based on your retirement.

However, the process is not as straightforward as it appears. It is not just a matter of proving that you have stopped working. Florida laws only allow alimony modification upon “reasonable retirement.”

What is Reasonable Retirement?

Allowing a retiree to stop or reduce alimony payments is an obvious decision for most people. Essentially, it is unfair to continue working beyond retirement to support an ex-spouse who might be taking advantage of the situation. The 2023 Florida law changes in doing away with permanent alimony seem to acknowledge the same.

On the flip side, a paying spouse may also take advantage of the law to reduce or stop paying alimony by retiring early or in suspect circumstances. That is why the law requires retirement to be reasonable or in good faith.

Reasonable retirement means you are not retiring to stop or reduce alimony. It also means you have met the required conditions, including reaching "normal retirement age." For instance, you cannot retire in your 30s or 40s and stop paying alimony.

The Social Security guidelines provide 65 as the normal retirement age. Yet, it is not always applicable in determining alimony modification. Notably, the average retirement age in America is 61. All these add to the complexity of determining eligibility for alimony modification.

When Do I Qualify for Alimony Modification?

In Florida, both spouses have the right to modify an alimony. But, the petitioner needs to prove;

  1. that substantial changes in circumstances have occurred since putting in place the original order, and;
  2. the changes are material and involuntary.

The primary factor that determines whether the court will reduce or terminate your alimony upon retirement is whether it is voluntary or involuntary. Besides the involuntary or voluntary factor, the court also considers other factors including the paying spouse;

  • age
  • health
  • occupation
  • reason for retirement, and
  • the average retirement age for people in your occupation.

Other considerations include pension or retirement plans and benefits available to both spouses. The court may also consider factors exclusive to the receiving spouse, including;

  • their needs; and
  • how reducing alimony will affect them.

Typically, retirement does not always guarantee alimony reduction or termination. Determining when you qualify for alimony reduction is a complex process that requires the help of a skilled divorce attorney.

Contact a Florida Divorce Attorney

Whether you have reached normal retirement age or are retiring for other reasons, reducing or terminating alimony payments is a complicated and time-consuming process. However, our skilled and experienced Orlando divorce lawyers at The Law Office of Paulette Hamilton, P.A., can help you.

Our trusted attorneys will guide you through the complexities of the recent changes to Florida’s alimony laws. We will help prove your retirement is reasonable and has significantly changed your circumstances. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and learn more about our services.