If you are getting a divorce and you plan to ask the court to award you alimony, you may want to do a little research into which reward is right for you. South Carolina offers several different types of alimony payment methods:
- Periodic payments;
- Lump sum payments;
- Rehabilitative payments; and
- Reimbursement payments.
It seems that dependent spouses often request the periodic payment method when seeking an alimony award. Getting a check every month or so seems like a nice, reliable option. However, periodic payments may not always be your best bet; in fact, there is a good case to be made for selecting the lump sum payment option. Below are some factors that may make the lump sum payment more favorable:
1.) You Won’t Need to Worry About Whether or Not Your Spouse Will Welsh on the Agreement
Imagine this: you and your spouse have been through a divorce process that stretched out for a seemingly endless number of months. The court has finally awarded you alimony, but unfortunately, the checks never arrive. Or maybe the first few come and then nothing else. Even though your spouse has received a court order to pay, it doesn’t mean he or she will hold up his or her end of the agreement. You can be left in a lurch because you don’t have much recourse other than going back to court and enduring another lengthy process to get what is legally yours. In the meantime, your bills pile up and creditors begin contacting you, threatening to sue for nonpayment.
Instead of allowing such a frightening and awful scenario to play out, you can nip it in the bud by getting a lump sum payment. You get all your money without having to worry if (or when) you spouse will refuse to pay.
2.) You Won’t Be Affected If Your Spouse’s Income Diminishes from Job Loss or Other Extenuating Circumstances
Alimony is calculated based on a number of factors, and perhaps the most important one is your spouse’s income. If he or she were to become unemployed or retire, your alimony could be greatly reduced. If you rely upon the original amount the court awarded to help you with your household finances, a reduction in payments can hurt your ability to make timely payments and even affect your credit. If you elect to have all your funds paid at once, you can figure out your budget accordingly and stay on track.
3.) You Can Be Free and Clear from Your Former Life
Getting a divorce is stressful enough. Couples often fight even more during the process; their emotions get the best of them and their tempers flare easily. Emerging on the other side of such an emotionally and physically taxing event may make you eager to shed the oppression of your former life so you can start over. However, it can be difficult to leave your old life behind if you’re always depending on your ex to give you money. Additionally, if your spouse flakes on payments, you may find yourself slipping back into your old angry habits and fighting with each other once again.
If you’re worried that your past will keep coming back to throw shade on your sunny new life, you might want to consider a lump sum alimony payment. Once you’ve received your single check, you can kiss the old life goodbye, for good.
4.) You Can Move on With a New Significant Other
In South Carolina, alimony payments terminate once the recipient remarries or moves in with a significant other for more than 90 days. If you meet someone else, you may be loath to get very serious with them because it could affect your periodic alimony payments. If, however, you were paid with a lump sum, you will not have to worry that the court will terminate your payments based on your new romantic relationship.
5.) You Will Not Be Affected by Alimony Reform
South Carolina Alimony Reform is a group that formed under the guiding principle that the state’s alimony laws need to be revised. The group presented a bill to Congress proposing changes, such as:
- Eliminating the court’s ability to award permanent alimony;
- Creating “transitional alimony,” a payment that could be awarded temporarily to a financially-dependent spouse in order to give him or her time to adjust to the economic changes resulting from the end of the marriage;
- Removing the 90-day continual cohabitation time frame, so that alimony can be extinguished immediately after the recipient spouse moves in with his or her romantic partner; and
- Requiring the court to consider forms of payment other than periodic payments for marriages that last less than 10 years.
While this bill is still very much a work in progress, it is unlikely that South Carolina Alimony Reform is going to just go away, especially since other states have already reformed their alimony laws. But if you opt for a lump sum payment, you won’t need to be concerned if the reform group is going to get a bill passed that could drastically alter the way you receive alimony.
6.) You Won’t Have to Worry About Your Spouse Going to Court to Request a Modification
It’s not hard to believe that your spouse may feel it is unfair that he or she is paying you money after the marriage ended, no matter what he or she might have agreed to during the divorce proceedings. If your spouse does not feel he or she must continue paying, it’s possible he or she will take you back to court to request a modification or maybe even have your alimony terminated. He or she may not be successful, but is that a chance you can afford to take? Luckily you won’t need to ask yourself that question of you decided to have your award paid in a lump sum.
7.) You Will Get All Your Taxes Taken Out Right Away
Alimony payments are taxed on the recipient’s end, so all those periodic payments will have a chunk taken out for taxes. While your lump sum may be diminished by a more sizable tax payment, it will be the one and only tax on your alimony that you have to worry about.
Talk to Robert Clark – A Skilled Family Attorney – Today
Obviously, a lump sum alimony payment is not for everyone. You should talk to an experienced & skilled Greenville divorce attorney about all your options before making your request to the court. Attorney Robert Clark has helped many residents of South Carolina determine their alimony options, and will advocate for you when divorce is imminent. Call him today for advice on your case.