RD- an actual child support client
"My case was handled quickly and with ease."
01/10/2014
RD- an actual child support client
"My case was handled quickly and with ease."
01/10/2014
“Prospective clients may not obtain the same or similar results.”
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Lump-Sum Alimony

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Family in need of attorney

Gainesville Family Law Attorney, Karen S. Yochim, of the Law Office of Alba & Yochim P.A. has over a decade of experience representing clients in divorce proceedings involving alimony. In Florida, spousal support comes in many forms. While, alimony is more commonly provided to a recipient through periodic payments, it can also occur through a one-time lump-sum payment made from one spouse to the other. Lump sum alimony can have advantages and disadvantages to either party. Whether you are asking for support payments, or defending a support request, it is important to understand your legal rights and options given your unique circumstances.

There are several factors to take into consideration in evaluating whether lump-sum alimony may be suitable in your particular scenario. Just a few are:

  • Effect that a lump-sum award would have on the distribution of marital and non-marital assets/ property.
  • The debts/liabilities that would remain for each party following the distribution process.
  • Life expectancy of both parties, based upon life expectancy tables, as well as realistic considerations given the age and health of each party, and the long-term effect of lump-sum versus periodic.
  • Likelihood of a change in circumstances of either party that might warrant a modification or termination of periodic support payments (i.e. cohabitation involving a ‘supportive relationship’, change in income, loss of income, disability, etc.) and whether a lump-sum payment would provide the other spouse with more or less in the long run. Be realistic, while also keeping in mind the potential for, and effect of, unanticipated life changes.
  • Terms of the (proposed) marital settlement agreement, including classification of lump-sum payments as alimony or asset distribution; and any language permitting or prohibiting future modification.
  • Potential need to collect past due support payments through enforcement proceedings in the future, and the resulting stress, expense, and effect on financial stability caused to either party.
  • Overall long-term gain or loss to recipient or payer, given marital and non-marital assets & liabilities; duration and amount of payments; life expectancy of each party; and potential for change in circumstances.
  • Ability for lump-sum alimony recipient to save or invest lump-sum payments in a manner that ensures their future financial stability.
  • Possibility that recipient will remarry in the future, and the effect of termination of periodic payments.

Divorcing spouses must also keep in mind that lump-sum alimony can be awarded in addition to other forms of alimony. In some cases, using a combined approach that provides a spouse with a lump sum payment and smaller periodic payments, in lieu of a larger amount of ongoing support, is an effective means of protecting the interests of both parties.

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On the other hand, there are many clients that prefer the use of lump-sum over periodic payments. For example, where the recipient wishes to pay off debts/liabilities that will remain following the distribution of assets, a lump-sum payment may be more desirable. Also, where the recipient has a reduced life expectancy, the use of a lump-sum payment can allow the money to pass to beneficiaries in the probate process. Likewise, where the payer has a reduced life expectancy, lump-sum payments can reduce the risk of financial insecurity that may occur in the event of termination of periodic payments due to the payer’s death.

From the standpoint of the spouse obligated to pay support, there are many reasons why lump-sum alimony is often preferred. For some, it allows the paying spouse to dispose of all support matters during the divorce process, thereby eliminating the need to make ongoing payments and/or allowing the spouses to cut all ties from one another—especially in cases where no minor children are involved. In addition, lump-sum alimony can be more financially beneficial in the long run, particularly when considering the long-term effect on a payer that outlives their life expectancy, as well as the future possibility of an increase in the amount or duration of periodic payments through modification due to a change in the recipient’s circumstances.

At the Law Office of Alba & Yochim P.A., we understand that when it comes to spousal support, weighing your options can seem overwhelming. Having an experienced alimony attorney to guide you through the process, provide experienced advice, explain your legal rights, outline your potential alternatives, and effectively advocate on your behalf in all aspects of the divorce process, can make all the difference in the outcome of your case.