Spousal Maintenance and Lump Sum Payments

During a marriage, parties work together to build their financial future.  In some cases, both spouses work outside the home.  In others, one spouse works while the other spouse attends school and gets a better degree.  Still others may choose for one spouse to stay home with the parties’ children while the other spouse works.  There are many different ways the spouses may choose to go about this division of labor and income.  In a divorce, however, when one spouse is economically disadvantaged compared to the other spouse, he or she could decide to ask for alimony, which is also called spousal maintenance in New Jersey.  Spousal maintenance can help the economically disadvantaged spouse maintain the standard of living as during the marriage, but it can also help him or her earn a new degree to raise earning capacity or even just give a financial boost while he or she establishes himself in single life.  Spousal maintenance is usually thought of as a monthly payment but in some cases, parties may agree to a lump sum payment instead. 

Agreeing to pay or accept a lump sum of spousal maintenance instead of periodic payments has advantages and disadvantages.  One primary difference between lump sum and periodic payments is that a lump sum is often not modifiable.  For example, if you are paying monthly support payments and your former spouse remarries, you can ask the court to terminate your support obligation.  However if you paid your support as a lump sum, it is too late to ask for a modification based on the fact your spouse has now moved on.  One advantage is that you and your former spouse will not have to maintain contact.  With periodic payments, you and your former spouse will have to remain in contact to a certain extent as long as those payments last.  Moreover, either of you could bring a new case to try to modify the support obligation.  However, with a lump sum payment, the issue is finished quickly, and both parties can move forward without having to continue keeping up with payments or worrying about ongoing litigation.  Finally, with a lump sum, it is often that the sum paid is less than what the paying spouse would end up paying altogether with monthly payments over time.  The receiving spouse may be willing to accept a lower payment in exchange for receiving the entire sum at once.

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There are many important considerations concerning spousal support.  Call us today and talk with us about your divorce case.

Are you interested in seeking an annulment? If so, contact Williams Law Group, LLC right away. Our family law attorneys will review your case to determine if an annulment is an option. If it is, we will guide you through the process and ensure you make the best decisions for your future. Call our office at (908) 738-8512, email us atinfo@awilliamslawgroup.com, or contact us through our confidential online form to schedule a consultation

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