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Minnesota Spousal Maintenance: Can I Ever Retire?

If you divorce and are required to pay spousal support to your ex-husband or ex-wife, the amount of support that you are required to pay is normally based on your income.  If the spousal support is permanent, then the court ordered support requirement can continue on an ongoing basis and you

picture of alimony money
it’s all about the money…

can be required to regularly make the payments for an indefinite number of years.  Unfortunately, this can leave you questioning whether you will ever be able to retire.

Minnesota Spousal Maintenance (Alimony) and Retirement

If your circumstances fundamentally change and you are no longer able to make the support payments that the court has ordered you to pay, you can petition the court to request that the support order be changed.  Your retirement could potentially be a situation in which your circumstances are fundamentally changing. When you retire, if you no longer have enough money to pay the support you have been ordered to pay, you could therefore petition the court to ask to have the support payments stopped or reduced.

If you are trying to use retirement as a justification for ending support payments, however, it is important that you are actually at an age and in a situation where it would be reasonable for you to retire. If you are just 50-years-old, for example, the court may be unwilling to adjust your support payments simply because you wish to retire. You cannot have your support payments reduced as a result of willfully lowering your income if the court believes that your actions are solely to avoid your support obligation. Likewise, if the court thinks you are retiring only to get out of paying support to your spouse, then you may be obligated to continue to pay the support as outlined in your original court order at the time of your divorce.

If you are old enough to retire or if retirement is necessary in your situation, then your alimony or support payments may still not necessarily stop. The court will consider whether you have sufficient money coming in during retirement to continue to pay the spousal support as outlined by your court order (or to pay a reduced amount of support).  While retirement assets that you accrued during the marriage aren’t normally considered since those assets are already divided in the divorce settlement agreement, other monies you have coming in can be a factor in whether the court will reduce your support payments or not.

If your support payments are not reduced and you have enough money to pay them and retire anyway, then you can retire whenever you want to but will need to continue paying. If your support payments are to be stopped or reduced however, then you can retire only when you reach a reasonable retirement age and/or can convince the court of your need to retire.

An experienced divorce attorney can help you to determine if and when retirement is possible in your situation and can help you to resolve issues of spousal support and retirement.

Jason Kohlmeyer
Mankato, Minnesota