What kinds of factors are taken into account when seeking a modification due to retirement?

By Laura Schantz
February 16, 2017
What kinds of factors are taken into account when seeking a modification due to retirement?

Retirement is the new hot issue. There are so many baby boomers who are retiring. There are couples that were typically married for a long time, who had an award of indefinite spousal support, and now one of them is retiring or the paying spouse is retiring and that person is thinking support should be terminated now because they’re retiring.

That's sort of what everybody thought would happen, but that's not what's happening 100%. Every retirement is looked at on a case-by-case basis. Especially when you're looking at spouses that were married for 30 years or more, the court's going to want to see what each spouse has to live on now that they're retired. It's very tricky because, obviously, the assets of the parties are already divided 50/50.

In one sense, what have they done to invest those assets and make them grow into something that could be utilized for their retirement? Let's say one person wasn’t working and they didn’t add anything to their retirement and the other person worked for another 10 years after the divorce and added a lot to their retirement. Is it really fair that you're going to look at both assets and try to figure out what we should do with spousal support?

It doesn’t seem fair, but the judges are looking at what assets each of the spouses have since retirement. How much social security is each spouse going to have as of date of retirement? Can the spouse that was receiving support continue to live without any spousal support? If she's really going to have a tough time making it and the other spouse has a lot of assets from which to retire on, a lot of times the judge may continue some amount of spousal support order even after retirement.

Laura Schantz is a family law attorney and mediator practicing in Beaverton, Oregon. To learn more about Laura Schantz and her firm, Schantz Law P.C., visit www.oregondivorceattorney.com.

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February 16, 2017
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