Alimony Payment Alternatives
Alimony is paid from one spouse (ex-spouse) to the other in cases of divorce or legal separation. For one spouse to receive marital support payments there must be a court order and the payments must be for support purposes, not part of a property agreement or another type of settlement agreement. Generally, alimony payments are for a specific period of time or for an indefinite amount of time. A specific period of time or a one-time payment is considered a lump sum alimony payment schedule. If the period of alimony is indefinite, this is a periodic alimony payment agreement. Both types of payment schedules may be modified or terminated, by either party, by means of a motion to the court.
Consequently, there are situations where an ex-spouse may wish to modify his or her support payment amount or duration. The individual (usually the payor) may make a motion to the court for consideration; the motion must provide the court with reasons for the modification or termination. The modification or termination situations may vary; an example may be a negative change in circumstances, which causes an inability to pay. Some ex-spouses may also elect to make higher periodic payments in the event that he or she is not able to pay as much in the future. This option protects both parties.
The court may also order a specific period of alimony known as rehabilitative alimony. Rehabilitative alimony is most commonly used when one spouse has been financially dependent on the other spouse. The dependent spouse has often lost career opportunities due to the marriage or has contributed to the household in ways other than participating in the traditional workforce. Examples may be of one spouse supporting the other while he or she advances his or her education or working in the home while the other spouse enhances his or her career and earning capacity. It is a period of time intended to help the dependent spouse get on his or her feet, began working and become able to support him or herself. The limited amount of time alimony is paid to the formerly dependent spouse is intended to encourage him or her to acquire job skills, training or education to help them become financially independent and successful in the workforce.
Another option for alimony payment is to set up an alimony trust. This may be a good option for an ex-spouse who is not able to management alimony payments on his or her own. Inability to pay may be due to incapacity or an individual’s incapability to make payments, for whatever reason. The trust makes payments to the spouse and is generally funded by income producing property. According to federal statute, in order to have an alimony trust the payor (individual making alimony payments) and payee (individual receiving alimony payments) must be divorced or legally separated and the trust payments must not be for child support. The trust may be created for the purpose of alimony payments or it may be an existing trust, not created for alimony purposes, that is later used for alimony payments when the marriage has ended.
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