Whenever a divorce decree includes an award of maintenance, I explain to my client that “permanent” means until the payor reaches normal retirement age and retires. At that time, spousal maintenance normally ends. Most often, “normal retirement age” means the age at which a person can collect full social security payment.
Given how much information people have to absorb during the divorce process and the stress they may be under, it is not surprising that receivers often don’t remember talking about this and so are shocked when the payments stop. Payors usually do remember, and payments, which are withheld from their paychecks, simply stop when the paychecks stop.
Today, I received one of those calls, fourteen years after the couple was divorced. I explained that if the reason “permanent” maintenance stopped was the payor’s retirement, the receiver would be able to begin collecting the share of the payor’s retirement, which was given to the receiver in the divorce decree. It may also be appropriate to check on Social Security benefits.Tagged with: Money and Finances • retirement • spousal maintenance