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How can you get around monthly alimony payments?

You stayed married for 15 years and your spouse never worked. You're sure the court is going to order you to pay alimony. To put it lightly, you're less than thrilled.

It's not that you can't afford it. With your recent promotion at work, you're making enough to cover a cost like that with ease. Money wasn't a problem before you got married and it certainly isn't now.

What you find frustrating is that you'll have to stay in touch with your ex. This divorce wasn't your idea. You have no desire to stay friends or even communicate after it's finalized. You have a hard enough time talking to each other now, and the divorce isn't even done.

If you're ordered to pay alimony for seven or eight years, that's monthly contact you'd rather avoid. You just want to move forward with your life. What can you do?

The lump sum

One option is to pay a lump sum. Just get it all out of the way up front. It may hurt to write that check, but, since you can afford it anyway, why not make this a clean break? After your ex cashes the check, you never have to think about it again.

For instance, perhaps the court orders you to pay $10,000 per month for the next seven years. That's $120,000 per year, or $840,000 total. No one likes to shell out over three quarters of a million dollars in one shot, but you'll have to follow the court order and pay it all eventually. If the funds are there, paying it up front just ends the whole thing.

The downside

There are some downsides. One, of course, is that you're losing a lot of assets at once. Remember that many of your other assets will get split between you and your ex. Would losing the full alimony payment drain more of your funds than you're willing to part with? The $10,000 feels tiny by comparison, so the monthly payment leaves more in the bank.

Another downside is that the money is gone when you write that check. If your financial situation changes, you can't get it back. If you lose your job while making monthly payments, you can ask for a modification.

Finally, if your ex gets remarried, that money is also gone. Many times, the court cancels alimony obligations after an ex gets married again. Alimony is for support, after all, and a married person has another source of financial support. If you pay the lump sum and your ex marries someone else next year, you paid more than you needed to.

Your options

These are all things you'll carefully want to consider as you decide how to proceed. Make sure you know all of your options.

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