Butler Giraudo & Meister
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Can a lump sum payment help women struggling to get alimony?

In traditional Illinois marriages, it is fairly common for women to remain at home while the man is the primary breadwinner. This is especially normalized in high-asset marriages with children, as one party often remains at home to raise the kids. When the marriage ends, these women find themselves at an economic disadvantage.

If you are one such woman, you may have been out of the job market for so long that your degrees and work experience may now be outdated. You may not even have work experience or a degree at all, depending on how young you got married and the path you followed. The new tax reform further complicates things by making alimony a tax burden to ex-husbands who pay.

Forbes recommends asking for a lump sum payment instead. Choose your lump sum payment based on your financial situation. If you do have a job and can continue to sustain yourself financially, then consider taking your lump sum as a retirement account, so you have a head start for later in life. If you are not yet financially stable, then taking a retirement account could set you up for trouble as early withdrawals may lead to penalties and fees.

The great thing about taking a lump sum payment instead of monthly payments is that you do not need to worry about your husband changing his mind later on. Also, if his financial situation changes, you could lose that support if it is paid monthly. What if he loses his job or falls into serious debt and files for bankruptcy? This might seriously affect his ability to pay, which in turn, can affect your own financial situation.

A lump sum settlement is therefore one of the safest solutions for women who need a head start on their finances after divorce. However, think twice about accepting non-liquid assets like a house or car as part of your settlement. These may end up costing you rather than saving you over the long run. Cars depreciate over time and large houses require upkeep.

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