No Social Security Deduction for Spousal Support

Interesting article from VLW:

By Deborah Elkins
Published: January 20, 2011

A husband was not entitled to reduce his spousal support obligation under the parties’ property settlement agreement by the amount wife was receiving in social security benefits, and the Court of Appeals upholds the trial court’s denial of husband’s request for a reduction.

In April 2006, husband began paying wife $2,742 per month. In November 2008, he moved to modify support alleging he had suffered an involuntary loss of employment income which, along with wife’s receipt of social security benefits, justified an abatement of spousal support.

The trial court found husband did suffer an involuntary loss of employment income. The court reduced husband’s obligation to $1,951 per month, but declined to reduce the obligation on account of social security benefits.

Husband argues there is no language in the PSA addressing the parties’ intentions or understanding regarding future receipt of social security payments and there was no witness testimony or documentary evidence concerning either party’s intention or anticipation at the time of the PSA. But husband did not present any evidence on whether wife’s receipt of social security payments was reasonably contemplated by the parties when they entered into the PSA. When questioned by the trial court regarding whether wife could have reasonably anticipated she would be receiving social security benefits given her age of 64 when the parties signed the PSA, husband’s counsel agreed, “One would expect that.” As such, we cannot conclude it was unreasonable for the trial court to find that, given wife’s age, it was anticipated she would be eligible to receive social security benefits during the terms the original spousal support would be in effect.

Neither party is entitled to attorney’s fees.

Blair v. Blair
(McClanahan, J.) No. 0864-10-4, Jan. 11, 2011; Fairfax Cir.Ct. (Klein) Adam T. Kronfeld for appellant; Dorothy M. Isaacs for appellee. VLW 011-7-012(UP), 5 pp.

Please contact us if you have questions or need legal assistance.
Tucker Griffin Barnes P.C.
Charlottesville, Virginia

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