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For some in Rhode Island, lump sum spousal support is preferable


Alimony can be a contentious topic for Rhode Island spouses going through a divorce. This should not be unexpected. After all, finances are often at the heart of many divorce legal issues, with each spouse wanting to make sure they get a fair share. But, for better or worse, alimony, also known as spousal support, is a topic many divorcing couples may need to address.

Some spouses in Rhode Island may automatically believe that alimony payments must be paid monthly, and for many this is the case. However, a lump sum payment may be another option for some. What are the advantages to a lump-sum alimony payment?

First of all, with a lump sum payment, the receiving spouse need not worry that the paying spouse will not hold up to his or her part of the bargain. It happens all too often: despite a spousal support order being in place, the paying spouse simply doesn't pay. It can take a lot of time and money for a receiving spouse in this situation to get back what he or she is owed. Therefore, if all of one's alimony is paid in one lump sum, the need to seek alimony arrearages is obliterated.

Secondly, it is important to keep in mind that one's financial circumstances are not static. A job loss or other circumstances could lead a spouse who had previously been making his or her alimony payments on time and in full unable to continue making such payments. By accepting a lump sum payment, this risk is essentially eliminated.

In addition, just because an award of alimony is made doesn't mean the paying spouse may think it is fair. In fact, the paying spouse might try to go to court in the future to have the payment amount changed. For example, if your spouse believes you are cohabitating with another person, he or she may seek to have the alimony award reduced or even terminated. If alimony is paid in a lump sum, no matter what the future brings, that amount cannot be changed.

Of course, lump sum payments are not always the answer. Spouses in Rhode Island who are awarded a lump sum alimony payment must make sure not to splurge. The amount is meant to provide for future needs, so it takes careful financial management. Those who want to learn more about lump sum alimony payments may want to seek legal advice first, before making a decision, to determine if it is an appropriate choice for them.

Source: Forbes, "Women, With Shrinking Options For Alimony, A Lump Sum Can Be Your Best Strategy," Jeff Landers, June 20, 2016

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