After years of building a business or professional practice in New York, many look forward to the day of retirement, when they can reap the benefits of their hard work and careful saving. However, if retirement is only a few short years away and divorce is on the horizon, it is time to reevaluate those plans. Financial preparation for retirement might not hold up to divorce, especially if alimony is on the table.
What is spousal maintenance?
The old term alimony is also known as maintenance since its purpose is to allow a lower-earning spouse to maintain a quality standard of living following a divorce. In many cases, it may be unreasonable for either spouse to expect to continue living at the same standard they did before the divorce, especially if they are nearing retirement. However, spousal maintenance can make divorce more equitable for a lower-earning spouse. Courts typically calculate alimony based on a number of factors, such as:
- How long the couple was married
- The overall health of the partners
- The age of the partners
- The ability of both spouses to earn money
The paying spouse typically pays a monthly amount, but the couple can negotiate other arrangements, such as a lump sum. It will be important for both spouses to know and understand the tax implications of spousal maintenance. Additionally, alimony laws vary by state and change frequently.
How long will alimony last?
The length of time one will pay alimony depends on the court order or the negotiated settlement. However, it is not a given that maintenance payments end when the payee retires. In fact, it is sometimes necessary for a divorcing spouse to delay retirement to comply with spousal support orders. It is wise for those nearing retirement to work with a skilled legal advisor if divorce is in their future.