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Taking steps to protect alimony payments during divorce

During the divorce process, spouses are not only faced with making decisions that will impact them immediately or in the near future but also several years into the future. Because of that, when couples litigate, mediate or collaborate during dissolution, it is important to consider how some divorce issues might be altered due to changes in circumstances. In order to avoid or reduce how future changes could greatly impact decisions regarding spousal support, divorcing couples in New Mexico and elsewhere should note what steps they can take to protect alimony.

When it comes to establishing and agreeing on alimony payments, this can often be a difficult divorce issues to resolve. Even when a spouse is able to secure a payment amount, this does not guarantee that the other spouse will continue to make full and timely payments. When enforcement becomes an issue, the recipient spouse can go through the court system; however, this can become both timely and costly. Therefore, it is important to consider possible safeguards.

When establishing spousal support, a security interest could be established. This is a provision in the agreement that states that alimony payments will be secured by a recorded security interest against real property that is owned by the payer spouse. Another option is seeking a money judgment. This occurs when the recipient spouse can seek a money judgment on any alimony in arrears after the fact. This judgment could also address the issues of any future arrearages.

A way to secure alimony payments in the event of death is life insurance. If this is used to protect spousal support, a provision in the divorce decree must be included and state that the payer spouse show proof of life insurance every year.

If the payer spouse is dealing with financial troubles, it is important to note that alimony is not dischargeable in bankruptcy. It is also important to note that if a spouse fails to make alimony payments, he or she could be held in contempt of the court order. This could add interest to the payments in arrears, possible diver's license suspension and even incarceration. Lastly, recipient spouses might want to consider including a provision regarding attorney's fees in case he or she must seek alimony enforcement.

Legal divorce issues can become very complex, and spouses should understand what options are available. This could help them make informed decisions while also protecting their rights and interests in the matter.

Source: Yahoo! Finance, "How to Protect Your Alimony," Rebecca Zung, Accessed on Nov. 9, 2015

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