Question: If a former spouse retires, can alimony be modified in Florida?
The short answer is maybe. In general, in order to justify a reduction of alimony, the paying former spouse must show:
1. a substantial change in circumstances,
2. that the change was not contemplated at the time of the Final Judgment, and
3. that the change is sufficient, material, permanent, and involuntary.
Additionally, the substantial change is circumstances must bear on either the recipient’s need for alimony or the paying spouse’s ability to pay.
A good number of retirements are voluntary.
In determining whether a voluntary retirement is reasonable, the court must consider the payor’s age, health, motivation for retirement, the type of work performed, and the age at which others engaged in the same line of work normally retire.
The reasonableness of the retirement is only one factor for the court to consider when deciding whether to lower or terminate an alimony obligation.
The courts in Florida have repeatedly held that a paying spouse should not be allowed to unilaterally choose voluntary retirement if that choice places the receiving spouse in peril of poverty.
In this situation, the courts will consider the needs of the receiving spouse and the impact a termination or reduction of alimony will have on the receiving spouse. in determining these needs, the court will consider any assets which the receiving spouse has accumulated or received since the Final Judgment along with any income generated by those assets.