Perspective is everything when you’re talking about alimony. Are you retiring and court ordered to pay alimony? Certainly you’ll want to know what you’re expected to do.
Is your former spouse retiring and court ordered to pay you support? We’d guess you’d like to know if you can still count on regular checks.
No worries. There’s actually law that deals with retirement and alimony. We’ll give it you in real life story form.
The Alimony Statute and Retirement
You might not realize it, but there is a specific statute that deals with alimony or maintenance of the parties. One of the subsections of the law specifically deals with the issue of retirement. It states, in pertinent part: …” Alimony may be modified or terminated upon the prospective or actual retirement of the obligor.”
So, there’s the preliminary answer of what happens to alimony payments when someone is scheduled to retire. In short, they can be changed. Or, they can abruptly end.
Whether you’re writing the checks or receiving the money, we’d guess you’d appreciate some clarification.
The statute does go on to add some more important details. These include:
- Alimony should end when the obligor retires, with the exception of arrearages
- The party who is receiving alimony can go to court and rebut the termination
- The court can review the financial circumstances of the parties and choose an alternative termination date
- Health, age, assets and more are all considered by the court before deciding if alimony should conclude when the payer retires.
Recent Case Reviews Alimony after Retirement
We promised you a story. This one comes in the form of a recent court decision. In Landers v. Landers, the New Jersey Appellate Division considered the issue of alimony payments after retirement.
After 22 years of marriage, Nancy and Patrick Landers were divorced in 1991. As part of the final decree, Mr. Landers was ordered to pay Nancy $1,000 monthly in alimony payments. Apparently, he paid support on time and accrued no arrearages.
When Mr. Landers turned 66, he went to court seeking an order to terminate his alimony payments. He had retired from work and his income was now limited. In addition to social security benefits, Mr. Landers received a pension as a result of equitable distribution.
At the time of the court hearing, Ms. Landers was still working. She also received social security benefits as a former spouse.
Both parties cited health issues. They both presented documentation to the court.
The current law states that it was up to Ms. Landers to “rebut the presumption” that Mr. Landers no longer had to pay alimony upon retirement. This requirement came into effect in 2014. The trial court judge felt that Ms. Landers had not rebutted the presumption. In short, Mrs. Landers had not proven there was enough reason for her ex to be released of support obligations.
We mentioned some dates here for a reason. The new law became effective 2014. The Landers were divorced in 1991. What does this mean?
In reviewing the case, the Appellate Division decided that it was not up to Ms. Landers to “rebut the presumption.” The court was required to make its determination without the burden placed on Ms. Landers to do so. The case was sent back to the lower court for a new trial.
At the Law Offices of Sam Stoia, we recognize that divorce can confusing. Even after the parties have been apart for a long time, different issues may present. If you have questions regarding your divorce, please contact us. We will be pleased to provide you with a complimentary meeting.