Early Retirement and Spousal Support in California

Early Retirement and Spousal Support in California

Pursuant to California law, a payor of spousal support has an absolute right to retire at the age of 65, In Re: Marriage of Reynolds 63 Cal. App. 4th 1375.  

Pursuant to In Re: Marriage of Shimkus, 244 Cal.App.4th 1262, and applicable California law, in certain circumstances, a party may have adequate justification to retire prior to the age of 65 but the court must still determine whether the early retirement was adequately justified, whether termination or modification of spousal support is appropriate, and the court must consider the Family Code Section 4320 factors. 

For example, In Marriage of Shimkus, the payor of spousal support was a firefighter, and firefighters tend to retire much earlier due to the harsh conditions of their work and the physical labor. Upon expert testimony stating that firefighters customarily retire in their 40s, and the payor had exceeded that standard and retired in his 50s. The court found that his early retirement was adequately justified as the payor exceeded the standard.

Therefore, the court can impute income if they believe that early retirement is not adequately justified.