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  1. #1
    aleksandor52 is offline Junior Member
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    Spousal support and civil service retirement

    What is the name of your state? CA

    Divorce was final in June, 2006. I was awarded my federal civil service pension, (I'm under CSRS) as my sole property. I have been paying spousal support since I'm still working, but plan to retire at the end of October, 2008. The court order says "Upon Respondent's retirement, his Civil Service retirement income will not be considered income available for spousal support purposes. However, petitioner may argue he has the ability to earn his previous salary until he reaches age 65." Question is could I subtract my pension from any income I earn through future employment after I retire to determine amount of spousal support or is there any other type of offset? My dread is having to return to court over this matter though naturally I'd like to avoid that. My ex and I aren't on speaking terms so there's no use contacting her to work something out.
  2. #2
    LdiJ is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by aleksandor52 View Post
    What is the name of your state? CA

    Divorce was final in June, 2006. I was awarded my federal civil service pension, (I'm under CSRS) as my sole property. I have been paying spousal support since I'm still working, but plan to retire at the end of October, 2008. The court order says "Upon Respondent's retirement, his Civil Service retirement income will not be considered income available for spousal support purposes. However, petitioner may argue he has the ability to earn his previous salary until he reaches age 65." Question is could I subtract my pension from any income I earn through future employment after I retire to determine amount of spousal support or is there any other type of offset? My dread is having to return to court over this matter though naturally I'd like to avoid that. My ex and I aren't on speaking terms so there's no use contacting her to work something out.
    The way that is worded, it indicates to me that you are going to be liable for the current spousal support amount until you are at least 65....even if you choose to retire earlier than that.
  3. #3
    aleksandor52 is offline Junior Member
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    That's what I thought

    The second part of the paragraph in the judgment reads "Her right to make this argument does not create a presumption that Petitioner should or should not retire prior to age 65." This sounds odd since my retirement is what's in question. Since when she retires she'll only get Social Security I obviously have no claim to any of her retirement. The entire wording looks vague enough to mean potentially getting tangled up with drawn out legal procedures if I pursue this.
  4. #4
    LdiJ is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by aleksandor52 View Post
    The second part of the paragraph in the judgment reads "Her right to make this argument does not create a presumption that Petitioner should or should not retire prior to age 65." This sounds odd since my retirement is what's in question. Since when she retires she'll only get Social Security I obviously have no claim to any of her retirement. The entire wording looks vague enough to mean potentially getting tangled up with drawn out legal procedures if I pursue this.
    Sorry, but I am pretty sure that the wording means that you don't get a break from alimony if you choose to retire early. I think that the court was being careful not to order you not to retire early, but was still holding you responsible for alimony until you reach age 65.

    You can take your paperwork and get a consult with a local attorney, but it seems pretty clear to me.
  5. #5
    nextwife is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by aleksandor52 View Post
    What is the name of your state? CA

    Divorce was final in June, 2006. I was awarded my federal civil service pension, (I'm under CSRS) as my sole property. I have been paying spousal support since I'm still working, but plan to retire at the end of October, 2008. The court order says "Upon Respondent's retirement, his Civil Service retirement income will not be considered income available for spousal support purposes. However, petitioner may argue he has the ability to earn his previous salary until he reaches age 65." Question is could I subtract my pension from any income I earn through future employment after I retire to determine amount of spousal support or is there any other type of offset? My dread is having to return to court over this matter though naturally I'd like to avoid that. My ex and I aren't on speaking terms so there's no use contacting her to work something out.
    I'd suggest consulting an attorney. The word "may" is a non-absolute - I don't take it as gospel that she IS absolutely entitled to SS until you are 65. 62 is NOT really "early" retirement, either.

    A person may have the "abilty" but not the energy or NEED to work to 65. If you've supported her all these years, you've EARNED the right to some time off before you are too old or infirm to actually enjoy it. Sounds like she had plenty of years off - when do YOUR years off start?
  6. #6
    aleksandor52 is offline Junior Member
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    Thanks

    The wording is pretty vague as you pointed out. I'm drafting a letter to my attorney who handled my divorce to get an opinion. I'd be happy with a reduction in spousal support to compensate for my pension being smaller than my paycheck but anything in my favor would be nice, especially considering for the last five years of the marriage I was stuck paying every household expense even though my ex was working and could have contributed.
  7. #7
    MFinancier is offline Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by aleksandor52 View Post
    What is the name of your state? CA

    Divorce was final in June, 2006. I was awarded my federal civil service pension, (I'm under CSRS) as my sole property. I have been paying spousal support since I'm still working, but plan to retire at the end of October, 2008. The court order says "Upon Respondent's retirement, his Civil Service retirement income will not be considered income available for spousal support purposes. However, petitioner may argue he has the ability to earn his previous salary until he reaches age 65." Question is could I subtract my pension from any income I earn through future employment after I retire to determine amount of spousal support or is there any other type of offset? My dread is having to return to court over this matter though naturally I'd like to avoid that. My ex and I aren't on speaking terms so there's no use contacting her to work something out.
    Just a few more thoughts here...

    How many years of support were ordered? Are you close to 65? What is "normal" retirement age for your pension?

    If in awarding you your retirement pension in a division, your ex spouse was given an immediate offset against other assets, the clause in your order prevents the double dipping created by further awarding support from the income of a previously divided asset. Yes you will be able to deduct your CSFS retirement income from all other sources of income used for future support calculations and this will protect you if your ex spouse wants to modify or lenghten support after your normal retirement age, however, the Judge is clearly anticipating a ruling on whether or not he/she will modify your current support payments if you retire before 65! If your pension's normal retirement age is earlier than that...you may have a good chance of getting it modified (as a previous poster pointed out). You are the one who will have to request a modification if you want it lowered however...you can't just start making your own calculations and pay what you think is fair! If you will be 64 in Oct. it may not be worth the legal fees and hassle, otherwise I think this calls for a visit to the courthouse and updated financials from both parties! Just get there early and keep looking straight ahead

    One other question...did you get a social security offset in the valuation of your CSRS pension?
    Last edited by MFinancier; 05-11-2008 at 07:39 PM.
  8. #8
    aleksandor52 is offline Junior Member
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    Thanks for the reply

    Sorry for not getting back sooner, business trips got in the way. I will be 55 in July, and length of the spousal support is "commencing March 1, 2006 and continuing until further order of the court, the death of either party, or the remarriage of the Petitioner". Really have to love nice, vague court orders! One of my concerns about modifying the amount of support is that she was given our townhouse as compensation. At that time there was close to $300,000 in equity, and she was also awarded $53,000 from my Thrift Savings Plan.

    I did get the Social Security offset, which certainly helped. This has the potential to get messy, but that depends on whether my ex has the resources, will or energy to fight it at this point. I just want what is fair, so it looks like my attorney will be getting a letter soon for advice.
  9. #9
    garrula lingua is offline Senior Member
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    Most of us, at 55, have some physical problems which impact on our ability to work.
    If you have any, document them.
    Are you a safety officer ? Employment is harder to find at 55+.

    Your chances are excellent regarding reducing/stopping the alimony if she works, and is younger and comfortable financially and physically.

    Do you know if she's cohabiting with anyone ?

    How long were you married ?
    What was the difference in incomes ?

    The continuation/amount of alimony depends on the Commissioner/Judge who will hear the case. They have wide discretion in their decisions.


    You should document anything which would impact on your ability to work, and anything which shows she is financially independent and stable.
  10. #10
    CourtClerk is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by aleksandor52 View Post
    length of the spousal support is "commencing March 1, 2006 and continuing until further order of the court, the death of either party, or the remarriage of the Petitioner". Really have to love nice, vague court orders!
    That's not vague... that is what California calls a lifetime support order.
  11. #11
    LdiJ is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by aleksandor52 View Post
    Sorry for not getting back sooner, business trips got in the way. I will be 55 in July, and length of the spousal support is "commencing March 1, 2006 and continuing until further order of the court, the death of either party, or the remarriage of the Petitioner". Really have to love nice, vague court orders! One of my concerns about modifying the amount of support is that she was given our townhouse as compensation. At that time there was close to $300,000 in equity, and she was also awarded $53,000 from my Thrift Savings Plan.

    I did get the Social Security offset, which certainly helped. This has the potential to get messy, but that depends on whether my ex has the resources, will or energy to fight it at this point. I just want what is fair, so it looks like my attorney will be getting a letter soon for advice.
    So...you are considering retiring at 55? Unless you have a REALLY good reason for retiring that early, in my opinion you should expect to pay the full amount of spousal support until you reach normal retirement age....or unless you can prove that her circumstances have sufficiently changed to justify a judge overriding the existing court orders.

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