Empowering Clients To Make Informed, Intelligent Decisions

Personalized Attention, Experienced Counsel

When your retirement income changes, so should spousal support

On Behalf of | Feb 17, 2019 | Uncategorized

With more families having two spouses working outside of the home these days, spousal support isn’t as common as it once was. The courts usually only order support when there is a substantial discrepancy in earning potential between former spouses. When both spouses work for the duration of the marriage, support may not be necessary.

However, especially for couples married for a long time and divorcing later in life, spousal support or alimony is still possible in an Ohio divorce. Particularly if one spouse stayed home for much of their professional life to raise children or care for the home, the spouse with higher earning potential may end up ordered to pay spousal support.

Like child support, spousal support reflects both of the needs of the individual receiving support and the income of the party providing it. There may be circumstances in which you, as someone paying spousal support, can ask the courts to reduce the amount of your obligation.

Substantial income reduction can lower support payments

Many different factors can impact your level of retirement income. Perhaps you receive a pension from a company that negotiated new terms with the union. The amount of your monthly pension may be impacted those changes.

Perhaps you invested a significant portion of your retirement fund in a business or a volatile investment and lost some or all of that money. Whatever the reason, when your income suddenly decreases by a substantial amount, it can impact your support obligations.

Generally speaking, in Ohio, you only need adequate financial documentation to show a shift in income for the courts to consider a modification. What is most important is that you go through official routes, instead of simply reducing how much you paid.

Court-ordered spousal support requires special adjustments

Much like a child support, when appropriate, spousal support is ordered by the court. In other words, paying it is compulsory, not voluntary. Failing to pay spousal support as per the terms of the order can result in enforcement action including garnishing your wages and other punitive legal actions against you.

Although your ex may agree to an informal arrangement where you pay less, that approach could leave you legally vulnerable in the future. Your best option is to file a request for a support modification with the court. Working with an attorney can make it easier for you to prepare for the hearing and achieve success.

Spousal support shouldn’t leave you struggling to meet your own financial obligations. It should be reasonable and reflect your current income and circumstances. In addition to changes in your own income, an increase in income on behalf of your ex could also be grounds for requesting a support modification in Texas.

Photo of Craig P. Treneff and Andrea L. Cozza
FindLaw Network