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Spousal support: Know what you're agreeing to

If you're the spouse who earns more and who may end up having to pay spousal support, it's essential that you know what you're agreeing to and that it's detailed correctly in your divorce decree.

If you don't work with an attorney or don't take steps to make sure you have termination dates for alimony payments, you could end up paying out more than you ever expected. The good news is that there are ways that you can avoid paying too much and can even resolve your debt to your spouse in a single payment.

Talk to your attorney about a lump-sum payment for spousal support

One thing you can do is talk to your attorney about a lump-sum payment for spousal support. The huge benefit of a lump-sum payment is that it takes care of any debt you have to your ex-spouse in a single payment. It guarantees that you don't have to make more payments in the future and will protect you from accidentally agreeing to long-term alimony payments that you don't want to pay out.

Many people prefer the lump-sum option, since it means that they don't have to have an ongoing relationship with their ex-spouse. It also means that the person who is receiving support can get it all at once, which helps them move forward with cash in hand.

What can you do if you don't have the money to pay a lump-sum payment?

You may be able to negotiate a portion of your liquid assets or work out another way to make a payment to your ex-spouse that will cover the total support needed. Doing this might mean spending less cash outright, which could also be beneficial for you.

Does everyone get alimony awarded to them?

No. Not every spouse is entitled to alimony, even if they earn less than their significant other at the time of the divorce. Whether a person receives spousal support is based on many factors in California, so it's a good idea to talk to your attorney to find out what you should expect in your case. Many people are surprised to find out that spousal support is not a factor in their divorce at all, while others are shocked to see that it will be. Every case is different, so make sure you bring up the possibility of spousal support and find ways to guarantee you pay no more than is necessary.

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