How to Protect Your Alimony Payments
In the aftermath of a divorce, alimony payments can play a major role in your financial recovery. Alimony may be temporarily awarded to help you gain the experience, education, and skills needed to support yourself financially. It may also be awarded on an ongoing basis to help ensure you maintain the standard of living enjoyed during the marriage. In either case, there are situations that can jeopardize your rights to collect these payments. The following outlines common scenarios and ways to protect yourself.
Situations that Can Jeopardize Your Alimony Payments
Depending on you and your spouse’s incomes, the length of your marriage, and the amount of personal property each of you owns, you may be entitled to alimony payments in your divorce under Section 61.08 of the Florida Statutes. This is particularly true if you sacrificed your own career or education for the sake of supporting your spouse or any children of the marriage.
Once a formal court order for alimony is in place, your spouse is obligated to pay. Failure to do so could result in serious penalties, including liens being placed on their financial accounts and a warrant being issued for the arrest. However, there are situations which could jeopardize your rights to alimony or the amount you are entitled to. These include:
- Major changes in your spouse’s income or debts, such as from losing a job or having additional children with a new spouse;
- Remarriage on your part, which can automatically make you ineligible for alimony payments;
- The death of your spouse, which prevents you from collecting past due amounts or future payments.
Protecting Your Rights to Alimony
You cannot always control situations that arise in the aftermath of your divorce, but some advance planning can help ensure you are protected. The following are steps that may help you get the amount of alimony you are owed:
- Negotiating a lump sum settlement: If your spouse’s financial picture changes significantly, they may be able to modify the original order, reducing the amount they are required to pay. Working with your attorney, you may be able to arrange for a lump sum payment. This can protect your rights in the event you marry as well.
- Taking out a life insurance policy: If your spouse pays significant amounts of support, it may be in your best interests to take out a life insurance policy to protect these payments. You may also be able to include this policy in your divorce settlement and have them assume the costs.
- Filing a claim in probate court: If your spouse died owing unpaid alimony, you may be able to file a claim seeking payment of the amount from their estate through the Broward County Probate Court.
Let Us Help You Today
Attorney Vanessa L. Prieto is a strong advocate on your side when going through divorce and can help ensure you get any alimony payments you are owed. To discuss your case and how we can help, contact our Fort Lauderdale alimony attorney and schedule a consultation today.