Supported Spouse Pension Satisfied “Change in Circumstances” Requirement
In re Marriage of Shimkus, the fact that the supported spouse started receiving pension benefits was enough for the court to consider a reduction in permanent spousal support.
Husband and Wife had been married over 22 years. Husband was a firefighter and was ordered to pay permanent spousal support. Two years later, Husband filed a motion to terminate spousal support because he planned to retire at the age of 61 and Wife had started receiving pension benefits.
The court granted Husband’s request to terminate spousal support because Wife’s pension benefits met the “change of circumstances” requirement. Husband’s retirement income would decrease his income and Wife’s pension benefits would increase hers.
Another interesting fact in this case is that Husband retired at age 61 and not the “normal retirement age” of 65. Wife sought to impute income on Husband because he was choosing to retire early and could still work.
The court took into consideration that Husband was a firefighter, and those in that profession usually retire well before the age of 65 because of the physical demands of the job. Thus, the court ruled that a “bona fide retirement” may be treated as a material change of circumstances justifying a modification of spousal support.
This case is illustrative of strong legal advocacy and the importance of being able to set forth different arguments that differentiate the facts and circumstances most favorable to the client.
If you are need legal advice in a dissolution or modification of spousal support matter, call Carlos Cerda for an INITIAL CONSULTATION.