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Spousal support or property settlement? Here’s what to consider

| Jun 17, 2021 | Divorce

Even in the best of circumstances, the divorce process is riddled with ultimatums and difficult decisions. One of the most challenging conundrums a person is likely to face is whether to accept spousal support or a property settlement.

Spousal support, also known as alimony, has benefits and drawbacks, as does property. The choice is made more difficult by the life-altering circumstances in which minute details are magnified to the nth degree.

To simplify the decision-making process, here are a few important factors to consider:

Taxes

Spousal support payment and property distributions are treated differently by the IRS. Generally speaking, spousal support payments are considered taxable income for the recipient and tax deductible for the paying spouse. Property distributions, on the other hand, are often neither taxable or deductible.

Foreseeability

We all want to leave a divorce knowing our future is as secure as possible. From this angle, property distributions reign supreme over spousal payments.

Alimony can be amended if the paying spouse’s circumstances change (e.g., if he loses his job). Furthermore, if the recipient gets remarried she is no longer eligible to receive payments.

Inheritance

Spousal payments end when the paying spouse dies and cannot be bequeathed in a will. Property distributions, on the other hand, can be inherited and passed down to later generations.

Even myopic decisions, like whether to choose alimony or property, can seem overwhelmingly complex to the uninitiated. For this reason, the assistance of an experienced family lawyer should be sought early on in the divorce proceedings.

An experienced lawyer can identify thorny issues before they arise and formulate a legal strategy that emphasizes the client’s unique objectives. Furthermore, they provide candid advice and an empathetic voice during an incredibly challenging time.

Divorce is about ensuring your interests and future are protected. If cost is a concern, many lawyers offer a free initial consultation at no out of pocket cost to the client.

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