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Hartford Divorce Law Blog

Is lump sum alimony a good idea?

Your spouse has to pay you alimony after the divorce. You assumed that meant monthly payments. It can, but your spouse is asking to pay you a lump sum instead and be done with it.

Is that a good idea? Should you take all of the money up front or ask for it to be spread out? While all situations are unique, here are a few reasons why the lump sum may be to your advantage:

  • If you find your own financial success after divorce, you already have the alimony money. For instance, if you land a high-paying job a year into a five-year monthly alimony plan, your spouse may ask to cancel those payments since you don't need support. If you took the lump sum, you don't have to worry about it.
  • The opposite is also true. If your spouse loses their job or runs into other financial difficulties, they could ask to stop making monthly payments or at least reduce the amount. With the lump sum, you have the money in hand and it doesn't matter what your spouse's financial future looks like.
  • If you are at all worried that your spouse is going to violate the court order and refuse to pay on a monthly basis, taking the lump sum eliminates that complication. It allows you and your ex to cleanly cut ties with one another and move on with your lives.

What is the average income in Connecticut?

When dividing property during divorce, your household income becomes very important. To start with, you must fully understand what assets you control in order to divide them fairly. On top of that, you need to budget for your post-divorce life, and that starts with an understanding of what your income will look like after the split.

With this in mind, here are a few key statistics about income in the state:

  • The average household income clocks in at $106,014.56.
  • The median household income tells a slightly different story, however, coming in at $80,336.00.
  • There are 360,017 people in the state who live below the established poverty level.
  • On the other side, there are over 3.08 million people who live above that level.
  • The average income for those who are under 25 years old is less than $40,000 per year.
  • Between 25 and 44 years old, it jumps all the way up to $90,000.
  • It rises again for those between 45 years old and 64 years old, reaching nearly $100,000.
  • For those over 65 years old, it declines sharply, falling all the way to just over $50,000 per year.

For some spouses, divorce is a part of long-term care planning

Imagine you and your spouse are in your 50s. You've saved up a nest-egg to pay for your retirement years. However, your spouse develops Alzheimer's disease, which means that you and your spouse are going to endure massive medical bills. Those bills could result in the exhaustion of all your retirement. Essentially, you and your spouse will have to wait until you're impoverished before Medicaid kicks in to help with the bills. One solution to this dilemma could be divorce.

If you get a divorce, you'll split up the assets between you and your spouse. In fact, your spouse could give up all of their assets to you, and that would allow them to qualify to receive Medicaid benefits immediately. This would allow you to preserve the family retirement assets.

What is the 'bird's nest' co-parenting plan?

Imagine an eagle's nest. You have two adult birds and some eaglets chirping away in the nest. Mother eagle and father eagle go out hunting for food, and they share in their duties. Sometimes, father eagle comes home with a fish and carefully feeds it to the babies. Other times, it's mother eagle who comes home with a rodent to give them. The parents are doing their own things separately. At the same time, everything revolves around the kids.

The novel concept of "bird's nest" co-parenting is definitely not going to be for every parent, but it's an interesting concept to consider. The general concept is this: The parents adjust themselves to the children, and they attempt to keep life as stable as possible for their kids. They do this by letting the children continue living in the same house. The mother and father will then find new homes, or maybe just one extra home. Sometimes, dad is at the home of the kids, tending to their needs, and mom is at the other house. Other times, mom is at the home of the kids.

Don’t be tempted to defend yourself when asking for a divorce

You've mulled over this decision for the last five years, and you've finally come to the choice. You're going to get a divorce, whether your spouse likes it or not. In fact, at this point, it really wasn't a choice but a need. You can't live in this relationship anymore – and now you have to leave it.

The thing is, you haven't broken the news to your spouse yet, and you need a little bit of advice. Perhaps one of the most important ideas you should hold firmly in your mind during this conversation is this: Don't try to defend yourself.

Alimony and divorce: Who can qualify for these payments?

Everyone who stands a chance to receive alimony is eager to get it, and everyone who stands to pay alimony is not eager to fulfill this financial responsibility. The thing is, these helpful payments are an important part of keeping marriages fair in our society. After all, what would happen if someone was trapped in a toxic marriage and was afraid to leave because he or she had no other way of obtaining financial support?

By creating laws to establish alimony rules and guidelines the state of Connecticut has done a great thing to protect spouses from being controlled and forced to endure a difficult situation by a so-called "moneyed" spouse. By virtue of state family laws, the lesser-moneyed spouse could qualify for spousal support when:

  • The spouses were married for years instead of months. The longer the marriage lasted, the higher chance there will be of an alimony award.
  • One spouse doesn't work and doesn't have the requisite skills and education to obtain a job that allows him or her to be financially independent.
  • The quality of life enjoyed during marriage is unsustainable by the lesser-moneyed spouse.
  • If the parents had children, there is the question of whether the lesser-moneyed spouse should refrain from getting a job in order to suitably care for the children.
  • The moneyed spouse can afford to pay alimony.

Why should I assert my virtual visitation rights?

In the days of Humphrey Bogart and Fred Astaire, if a parent didn't have physical child custody, periodic visits were possible, but aside from old-fashioned phone conversations, the parent didn't get to interact with his or her child more than that.

These days are exceedingly different. Parents and kids have an unlimited number of ways to communicate digitally. These ways include Facebook, Facetime, Skype, text message, voice chat, video chat, email, staying in touch via social media and more.

Parenting provisions to establish your disciplinary policy

To avoid conflict and make sure they're on the same page in terms of co-parenting issues, many divorcing parents will include a variety of "parenting provisions" in their child custody arrangements. These provisions are statements that the parents agree to within their child custody agreements, and the parents must abide by them or face legal consequences.

Here is a review of several parenting provision examples related to the disciplining of a child:

  • Each parent will discipline the child responsibly during the times the child is under their care. If a significant discipline issue arises, the parents will discuss the matter to find an agreed-upon solution.
  • The parents will not allow third parties to use physical discipline or corporal punishment on the child.
  • Disciplinary measures will not override the parenting schedule, and the other parent will not be deprived of his or her parenting time as a result of the discipline unless the other parent agrees.
  • The parents will convene annually -- or more frequently as needed -- to discuss important matters relating to discipline and come to an agreement regarding how to proceed.

2019 ends the ability to take deductions for alimony payments

A long-time taxation standard has allowed those paying alimony to deduct the expenditure from their total taxable incomes. Meanwhile, the recipients of alimony were the ones who needed to make the tax payments on that money.

Now, as of 2019, the situation will be reversed. Those paying the alimony will need to pay the income tax, and those receiving the alimony will not.

Big changes to 1 spouse's appearance could be a sign of divorce

There are numerous "signs and symptoms" of divorce. One sign that your marriage could be coming to a close is difficult to miss – a lack of communication and emotional and physical intimacy. However, it's common for couples to go through ups and downs when it comes to their relationships like this. What might not be common for a "healthy marriage," however, is when there are communication and intimacy breakdowns that are accompanied by radical adjustments in one spouse's appearance, activities and habits.

In many cases, before spouses decide to formally bring their marriages to a close – regardless of whether this behavior is conscious or not – one or the other spouse will start to change his or her appearance in preparation for single life. For example, one spouse might start going to the gym, getting plastic surgery, revitalizing his or her wardrobe or engaging in any number of appearance-improving activities.

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