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Alimony modifications and mandatory early retirement

Some Texans who are ordered to pay alimony to their ex-spouses work in jobs that require early mandatory retirement. While the national retirement age is currently age 67, some professions require people to retire at much younger ages, such as age 55.

A person who retires early due to a mandatory rule may be unable to afford the previously-ordered alimony payments. It is possible for some people to seek and to receive a modification of their alimony amount. Courts consider several factors when they determine whether a post-decree modification to alimony is warranted.

Judges generally consider whether the moving spouse will be able to continue with the same standard of living they previously enjoyed after their forced retirement. They will also look at the needs of the spouse receiving the alimony payments. Judges also consider whether the person's retirement will be permanent or temporary. They will also look at whether the original alimony order contemplated the payor's future retirement. If the paying spouse is able to demonstrate that there has been a substantial and permanent change in their finances, the court may grant the modification request.

Alimony is often at issue in a high-asset divorce case, especially when one spouse has a significantly higher income than the other spouse. In some cases, alimony orders issued by a court do not take into account the potential for a future change in circumstances. A person who has ordered to pay alimony and who experiences such a change may want to consult with a family law attorney about seeking a post-decree alimony modification. The attorney will describe the type of evidence that will be needed to support the request.

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