Q. I'm 64 years old, fully employed, and currently paying nearly 35% of my take-home pay as spousal support to my former wife.
I would like to retire this fall when I reach the age of 65. If my full-time employment ceases at that time, I will be unable to make that large spousal support. How do I get that payment legally reduced or possibly eliminated? Will I be obligated to make payments to her out of my Social Security, my IRA account or proceeds from my tax-free annuities? She has already received a large share of my IRA account in last year's court settlement.
A.A., Santa Ana
A. You should check with the attorney who represented you at your divorce regarding the possibility of your former wife claiming any further interest in your assets. The disposition of community property assets is governed by your property settlement agreement, and the terms of that agreement will normally control the ownership rights of you and your former wife.
If you are retiring, and your income will be affected, you can petition the Superior Court for a modification of your support order. You can either do that through an attorney or by a simplified method for parties who are not represented by counsel. In fact, this latter method requires that parties do not appear in court with an attorney.