Can I Stop Paying Alimony When I Retire?

Can I Stop Paying Alimony When I Retire?

Alimony can be a stressful and difficult thing to have to deal with. It is often frustrating to have to pay, can be difficult to find information on, and often is part of what makes divorce proceedings take as long as they do. However, in addition to having an experienced Pasadena spousal support lawyer represent you for a spousal support settlement, knowing how alimony works can bring you the peace of mind and answers you deserve.

When Do You Have to Pay Alimony in California?

Alimony, otherwise known as spousal support, is a pre-determined monthly stipend that one person makes to their previous partner(s) after their divorce. Generally, this payment is primarily meant to go towards living expenses to upkeep the receiver’s previous lifestyle as well as allow them to not go bankrupt after divorce proceedings, which is often costly.

In most cases, if you have to pay alimony, it is because you make a significantly higher amount of money than your ex-partner while they make little wages, if any. This is usually the result of one partner choosing to take care of household duties, family, or any other responsibilities. In a divorce, if there is a considerable discrepancy in wages and one party has almost no income, you will more than likely have to pay some kind of alimony.

What Determines How Much You Pay in Alimony in California?

There are a few factors that determine how much you pay in alimony in California. While none of them are necessarily law, they are things that are often observed in negotiations and are often weighed by a judge in their final judgment.

One of the largest of these factors for determining alimony payments is the actual discrepancy of wages. If one party is making $500,000, they might be expected to have to pay a significantly higher alimony payment than someone making less than $100,000 each year. Additionally, if their ex-spouse was making less than 20% of what they were, the payments could be even higher.

Another factor could be the actual length of the relationship. California has an unofficial rule when determining things for divorce referred to as the “10-Year Rule.” This rule essentially states that if a marriage has lasted for ten years or longer, it is considered “of great length” and could make alimony payments higher and the amount of time required to pay them indefinitely.

The last factor is the most conditional, as it is based on the presence of children or any other dependents. While child support is indeed a separate thing, it is usually just for assistance with the necessities and does not include the actual labor to take care of them, nor does it cover their lifestyle habits. So, an alimony payment may be higher to assist a partner with taking care of any dependents without significant stress.

Can I Stop Paying Alimony When I Retire?

It’s important to know that alimony payments do not necessarily last forever. In most divorce settlements, alimony payments are set for a pre-determined amount of time, which usually equates to one-half of the length of the marriage. For instance, if a marriage lasted for six years, the length of alimony would only last for three.

However, if the marriage lasted for ten years or longer, the alimony could possibly be conditionally indefinite. Conditionally indefinite means two things: spousal support doesn’t technically go away, but it can be set to 0, thus effectively ending it. In most cases, spousal support can be eliminated if certain conditions are met. These conditions are:

  • Retirement
  • The receiver of alimony earns a higher wage
  • The receiver of alimony either remarries or lives with a new partner
  • Whoever is paying alimony loses their source of income or receives a significantly lesser income

So, if you retire, you will usually not be required to pay alimony anymore. However, it’s important to have an experienced spousal support lawyer represent you during divorce negotiations to ensure that you won’t have to pay alimony if you shouldn’t.


Q: Does Alimony Affect Social Security Retirement Benefits?

A: Yes, an alimony payment can affect social security benefits if certain conditions are met. However, it does not affect how much a person pays in alimony. The only person that alimony affects in terms of social security benefits is the person receiving these payments. In order to receive divorced spouse benefits, you need to:

  • Be at least 62 years old
  • Be unmarried
  • Be divorced for at least two years
  • Have been previously in a marriage lasting a decade or more
  • Have an ex-spouse that is eligible for Social Security
  • Have spousal benefits that exceed their own normal Social Security benefits

Q: Is It Better to Divorce Before or After My Spouse Retires?

A: If you feel that there are irreconcilable differences between you and your spouse or you have both mutually agreed to get a divorce, you should not wait to get a divorce regardless of their retirement status. However, if you divorce before your spouse retires and you are seeking alimony payments, in most cases, they will not be required to continue alimony payments after they retire.

Q: How Can I Stop Paying Alimony After Marriage?

A: In order to stop paying alimony payments, you can either wait out the length of the alimony payments (usually half of the marriage duration) or meet another one of the following requirements.

  • You retire
  • The receiver of alimony earns a higher wage
  • The receiver of alimony either remarries or lives with a new partner
  • You lose your source of income

Q: Will I Lose My Ex-Husband’s Retirement Benefits If I Remarry?

A: Most of the time, yes, if a person decides to remarry after a divorce that grants them alimony payments, they will no longer receive said benefits. This is because it’s expected that whoever a person chooses to remarry will in some way be able to financially support them in a way that no longer requires an ex-spouse to pay for that lifestyle. Alimony payments are meant to support one person plus a dependent, like a child, not a couple.

Contact a California Divorce Attorney

If you are in need of a highly successful Pasadena spousal support lawyer to help you with your spousal support settlement, contact the Khalaf Law Group today. We can help you understand the alimony process to its fullest extent and help you negotiate the terms. Contact Khalaf Law Group today.

About Ted Khalaf

As you maneuver the difficult process of divorce and custody, it is essential that you are supported by a team of legal experts well versed in California specific Divorce and Family Law. For well over a decade, Khalaf Law Group have been serving clients across Southern California in all areas of Divorce and Family Law. With an exceptional track record of courtroom successes, Khalaf Law Group take great pride in providing their valued clients with the knowledge and information they require to maintain peace of mind and a positive outcome in their case.

Leave a comment