Kajko, Weisman & Colasanti, LLP

Can an ex stop alimony payments after retirement?

Under the new Massachusetts alimony reform laws, your spousal support agreement is likely to be written in such a way that regular payments stop after the supporting spouse retires. There are, however, certain exceptions and special cases.

The first major exception to your ability to execute post-retirement termination of alimony payments under the new law concerns modified judgments. If your divorce happened before 2012, the year the legislature enacted the reforms, then it is unlikely you or your spouse would be able to modify your agreement under the terms of the new law. 

The Trial Court Law Libraries of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts have several important decisions that your lawyer might use as precedent for your issue involving alimony and retirement. Doktor vs. Doktor, for example, could affect your case because of the decision by the judge not to stop alimony payments due to the understanding that the reforms were intended to affect only future alimony agreements.

While this might seem unfair at first, it might seem more appropriate when you remember that you agreed to your payments with the understanding that they would continue past retirement age. Furthermore, there might still be options open to you for modification outside this reform clause: if you could show a significant change in circumstances, for example.

The text of the reform act, accessed through the General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts website, states that either you or your spouse— the party paying alimony— should stop making general term payments after a specific age. Each case is different, but the normal deciding factor in your post-retirement support payment amount adjustments would most likely be the date you made your agreement. This is intended only as general information. Please do not view this article as legal advice.

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