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Consider a Lump Sum in Lieu of Alimony

Maintenance or alimony is money ordered or agreed to be paid to a spouse who does not have sufficient income on her own in order to be self-supporting. Maintenance depends on both the ability to pay and the recipient's reasonable financial needs. Many women often make the assumption almost automatically that they want maintenance paid to them every month. However, there are several reasons to consider negotiating for a lump sum instead of maintenance. Here are a few of those reasons:

  1. You don't have to worry that he won't pay. Maybe he agrees to pay, but it really is just a court order and not everyone follows court orders. You may end up spending thousands of dollars in attorney's fees trying to enforce the maintenance order that your ex-husband agreed to pay.
  2. Your ex-husband's financial status could change drastically. Unless your husband has good disability insurance and/or a life insurance policy that he has agreed to keep you beneficiary of in the event of his death you need to be concerned about his future ability to pay. He could be fired, become disabled or die.
  3. He will have you back in court modifying maintenance. If he is unhappy with the deal struck to pay you maintenance then you can bet that you will be back in court defending that maintenance order in the future. Having represented spouses who had to defend such orders; court litigation is exhausting, time consuming, and costly. You may have won the battle but you end up losing the war because you didn't get a large lump sum order instead.
  4. You can invest your money how you want. If you get a lump sum you have the ability to work with a good financial advisor to invest that lump sum how you want. You can do more financial planning and it gives you greater piece of mind.
  5. You are no longer tied to him. Many men who pay maintenance feel that their spouses should account for how the maintenance is spent. Many women who receive maintenance continue to feel beholden to the paying spouse for the money that they receive. Hard feelings are literally created every 30 days when another maintenance payment is due. From an emotional standpoint the lump sum makes perfect sense when you take this emotional factor into consideration.