My father is currently paying permanent alimony, what happens once he retires?
The judge ruled that my mother cannot collect any of my father's retirement. Currently he is paying permanent alimony and has been over the past 7 years. My father works for the state and wants to retire soon (will be 59 at desired retirement time). He will be living off his retirement and plans on going back to court to modify the alimony. Since he will be living off his retirement and my mother is not suppose to collect any of it, can he have the alimony reduced to zero or stopped? Or does he have to wait until he is 65 years old (the normal retirement age)?
"Spousal support awards and agreements, temporary as well as "permanent," are modifiable throughout the support period except as to amounts accrued prior to filing of application for modification and except as otherwise provided by agreement of the parties. [Ca Fam §§ 3603, 3651(c), 4333]
Unlike child support jurisdiction, spousal support jurisdiction does not necessarily continue postjudgment and may be divested by the terms of the order. Unless jurisdiction to award spousal support has been either expressly reserved by the order or impliedly reserved (pursuant to Ca Fam § 4336), postjudgment spousal support is limited by the stated duration of the order. [Ca Fam § 4335]
Exception: In marriages of "long duration" (presumptively 10 years or longer), the court is deemed to retain spousal support jurisdiction "indefinitely" (notwithstanding the absence of an express reservation of jurisdiction) absent written agreement of the parties to the contrary or a court order terminating spousal support. [Ca Fam § 4336(a) & (b)]
A retention of spousal support jurisdiction after a "lengthy" marriage does not limit the court's discretion to terminate spousal support in later proceedings on a showing of changed circumstances. [Ca Fam § 4336(c)]
Nonmodifiable Spousal Support Orders:
Orders Expressly Made Nonmodifiable: A spousal support order may not be modified or terminated to the extent the parties' written agreement or, if no written agreement, their oral agreement entered into in open court, expressly provides spousal support is not subject to modification or termination. [Ca Fam § 3651(d)]
Orders Of Fixed Duration: Once the spousal support period expires in accordance with a clear and unequivocal termination date or terminating event, the court has no jurisdiction to extend further support unless it retained jurisdiction expressly or impliedly under Ca Fam § 4336 in its most recent order. [Ca Fam § 4335]
However, a specified termination date does not divest the court of jurisdiction to extend support past the termination date if the order did not otherwise explicitly preclude judicial modification (Ca Fam §§ 3591(c), 3651(d)]
Modifiability Of Spousal Support Agreements
The court's authority to modify spousal support agreements is governed by Ca Fam §§ 3590-3593.
The provisions of an agreement for spousal support are subject to subsequent court-ordered modification or termination except as to amounts accrued before the date of filing the motion or OSC to modify or terminate and except to the extent the parties expressly agreed otherwise. [Ca Fam § 3591(a),(b),(c)]
An agreement for spousal support may not be modified or revoked to the extent the parties' written agreement or, if no written agreement, their oral agreement entered into in open court, "specifically provides that the spousal support is not subject to modification or termination." [Ca Fam § 3591(c)"
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