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The Divorce Encyclopedia

Term Definition Retirement - generally, the years after a personís career occupation ends and he or she stops working full time or works on a reduced schedule.
Application in Divorce Retirement years -- at one time called "the golden years" -- may begin as early as 55. People may begin to take Social Security as early as 62, but most wait until 65 or later to begin to take full benefits. Very often retirement reduces the income of the retiree, and this reduction may grounds for modification of support on the grounds of a change in circumstance. As in other motions for modification, changed circumstances very often involve the reduced or increased income of one of the parties.

Courts view retirement benefits as income.

In the aftermath of divorce, retirement may have a significant impact on the obligations of the payor of spousal or child support.

In considering motions for modification, courts may consider whether the disadvantage to the recipient outweighs the benefit to the payor, and whether retirement is in good faith or bad faith.

In general, courts consider five factors in modifying support occasioned by retirement. They are 1) whether retirement was foreseen at the time the order was entered; 2) the age of retirement; 3) the circumstances of the retirement (good faith or "involuntary," such as health or a buyout offer) and efforts to find other employment; 4) whether the action was taken to avoid support; and 5) whether retirement was taken voluntarily for a reason other than health or forced retirement.

When a retiree argues that early retirement is being taken for health reasons, the burden of proof is on him.

See Modification.

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