Can Alimony Be a One-Time Payment in California?

one hundred dollar bills

Divorce is rarely easy, as there are many matters to discuss that can cause tension and hard feelings. One such issue is alimony. Understanding how spousal support is determined and what payment options are available is essential for both the paying and receiving spouse. Luckily, the following blog explores what you must know about these matters and why you should connect with Los Angeles spousal support attorneys to avoid any issues that could arise during these matters. Additionally, you’ll learn why you may want to consider making alimony a one-time payment.

How Is Alimony Determined?

It’s a common misconception that the lower-earning spouse will automatically receive alimony during the divorce. In reality, the recipient spouse must request these payments. In some instances, a couple on civil terms may be able to work together to compromise on an amount. If a couple cannot find common ground, the court will determine whether or not to award alimony.

When considering whether or not to grant alimony, the courts will examine the following factors:

  • The income of each spouse
  • The earning capacity of each spouse
  • Whether or not one spouse sacrificed their career to support the other
  • The domestic and financial contributions of each spouse
  • How long it would take the dependant spouse to become financially independent
  • The length of the marriage
  • Any other factors the court deems relevant

Can I Pay Alimony in a One-Time Payment?

When someone is ordered to pay alimony, there are options for how the alimony can be paid. It is common for a paying spouse to make monthly installments to the recipient. However, in California, alimony can be made as a one-time, lump-sum payment as long as the amount equals what the recipient would receive in total via monthly payments. For example, if a husband is ordered to make payments of $1,000 per month for two years, he can choose to make a singular $24,000 payment since that is what the wife would receive throughout the alimony duration.

It’s important to understand that, like most things in divorces, there are pros and cons to this option. For the recipient spouse, a lump-sum payment means you don’t have to worry about your spouse missing payments or losing their job. However, if you accept a one-time payment and your spouse receives a significant raise that could increase monthly payments, you may lose money. The same goes for the paying spouse, as they can request the payments to be lowered if the recipient gets a raise or moves in with a new romantic partner.

As there are many considerations to be made regarding this issue, it’s in your best interest to discuss your circumstances with an experienced divorce attorney with the Zitser Family Law Group, APC. They can examine your finances to help you make the best, most informed decision for your needs. Contact us today to learn how we can fight for you during these complex matters.

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