When you get divorced in a community property state like Texas, it's very important to determine whether spousal support (or alimony) is appropriate in your circumstances. Since alimony payments are rarely a given in 2019, you may not qualify to receive these payments nor be required to pay them.
But alimony is still awarded in Texas divorces in some cases: for instance, if you are coming out of a marriage of long duration where you eschewed pursuing a lucrative career in order to stay home and rear the children and take care of the home and family. But even in these cases, all spousal support is not equal.
Maximizing the value of your alimony payments
If you are awarded alimony in your divorce, you may come to rely on that monthly check or direct deposit. In fact, you could become over-reliant on those funds and be in crisis if they should dry up prematurely.
That is a distinct possibility, as alimony only continues during your ex-spouse's lifetime. Should he die, lose his job, retire or simply stop making the payments, your recourse could be quite limited.
Support alternatives and options
Fortunately, there are ways to offset these possibilities. You could insist on your ex taking out a life insurance policy that would take the place of spousal support payments should he predecease you while still under court order to pay you alimony.
Alternatively, you can seek a lump-sum alimony payment. Getting your spousal support all at once can be life-changing, as it can allow you to purchase property, make wise investments and leave you well-placed for this next life phase.
Advantages for both sides
There are reasons why both spouses may decide on lump-sum spousal support payments. It offers both a clean break. Once the support is received, if there are no children of the union, both parties are free to walk away from the marriage and never have to deal with one another again.
There will be no hassle of transferring funds each month. No need to take or make calls from or to your ex-spouse if support funds are late. If you're the one ordered to pay spousal support, you'll never have to worry that a lay-off or illness could cause you to be unable to pay your support. If you receive the support, you'll be relieved never having to haggle with creditors if your support is delayed.
Some spousal support agreements hinge on the receiving spouse not remarrying or earning more income. With a lump sum payment, you'll never have to delay remarrying or turn down a promotion because you would earn too much to continue receiving alimony.
Also, if your ex is willing to pony up a lump-sum payment, the courts could reward this good-faith effort by lowering the total amount of the award in lieu of dragging it out over years or decades.
When it might be a bad idea
If you are bad at managing your money, you might be overwhelmed with the sudden windfall and fritter it away. This tendency can be mitigated by immediately making a sound investment after seeking financial advice from a trusted adviser. Your Frisco family law attorney can review your case and offer a recommendation for spousal support payment options.