Avoiding Alimony

Whenever alimony can be avoided, it should. As I have said elsewhere on this website, alimony modification motions are not impossible to win. Therefore, the person receiving alimony, cannot always bank on receiving it for the term that they bargained for. Likewise, the person paying alimony may not be able to afford to pay it for any number of reasons in the future. Thus, both sides should at least consider avoiding alimony if possible.

Obviously, almost no on is going to just give up alimony when they are clearly entitled to it without getting anything in return. Thus, in some cases, we use offsets to reduce or even eliminate an alimony obligation. While there are any number of ways to do this, the easiest way to do this is with a house that has a lot of equity in it. Let's assume that there is a house with $500,000 in equity. In a normal case, both sides would get $250,000. Let's also assume an alimony obligation of $25,000 a year for a 20 year marriage with the husband being 50 years old. Although there is a permanent alimony obligation, we can expect that alimony obligation to last from 15 to 20 years. Thus, wife may accept the full equity in the house which is equal to 10 years of alimony and therefore, waive alimony all together.

The above scenario is often favorable to both sides. Wife cannot bank on getting 15 to 20 years of alimony. Husband may get sick and lose his job. Wife may also want to remarry at some point or she could be expecting a possible raise in pay several years from now. Either party may want to avoid uncertainty and legal fees in the future. The Husband saves a lot of money by not having to pay up to 10 years of alimony and Wife gets to use that money now. Remember, money is more valuable today then it is tomorrow.

Of course, not every case has numbers that are so clean like this. Therefore, our New Jersey alimony attorneys need to often get creative to come up with a number of solutions to reduce or eliminate our client's potential alimony obligation.

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