Will my spousal support obligations end if I retire early?
If you're considering retiring early and wonder how it will affect your spousal support obligations, the courts typically evaluate several factors to determine whether your support payments can end or be reduced.
First, the court assesses whether the decision to retire was voluntary. They'll look at circumstances such as health issues, job loss, or disability that may have influenced the decision to retire early. Your employment history might also be reviewed to see if you have consistently been in long-term employment, which can impact whether the court views your retirement as 'voluntary.'
An 'early' retirement is generally considered to be one before the age of 65 or on a reduced pension, except in cases of special circumstances like health issues. The court will also examine:
- Whether the economic consequences of the marriage and its dissolution have been equitably shared
- Whether both parties are of a reasonable age to retire
- The division of assets between parties
- Each party's financial health
- Support contributions made since separation
- Future income prospects for both parties
- The potential for economic self-sufficiency for both parties
After evaluating these factors, if the court determines that the retirement is voluntary and leads to a 'material change in circumstance,' your spousal support obligations could be adjusted accordingly.
To prepare for the possibility of early retirement, it’s advisable to have specific end dates for spousal support in your separation agreement or divorce order. This adds a layer of certainty for both parties.
By considering these factors and being proactive in your planning, you can better understand how early retirement may affect your spousal support obligations. For a more detailed explanation, check out this blog by Vancouver family lawyer Millad Ossudallah.