Alimony is support paid to an ex-spouse following the divorce decree. The amount of alimony is largely based on the incomes of the parties but may also be affected by the distribution of the other assets, if any. Unless otherwise stated by agreement, alimony may be subsequently modified due the changed circumstances of either party. The changes must be substantial and of a continuing nature. As previously alluded to, an alimony provision within an agreement between the parties may not be modified in the absence of a specific provision allowing such a modification within the agreement. Generally, the length of alimony is directly attributable to the length of the marriage. For example, a party may expect approximately 1 year of alimony for every 3 years married. For marriages of over 25 years, an indefinite term of alimony may be appropriate.

The court can only Order alimony in the traditional vein of a monthly support award. This monthly support award is tax deductible for the party paying alimony. It is also taxable income for the party receiving it. Parties who are seeking to negotiate a settlement agreement can weigh the pros and cons on a lump sum alimony award as opposed to a month-to-month obligation. A potential con is a change of circumstance down the road where the support may have increased, decreased or been terminated altogether. A benefit would be getting it over with right away as well as the discount for present cash value. The payor must have the resources to afford a lump sum payment as well whether that been separate assets or through sacrificing some of their portion of the marital estate. You should consult with your attorney and accountant on whether a lump sum alimony award or a traditional alimony award would work best for you.

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