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Transitioning away from alimony payments

Traditionally in North Carolina and across the nation, one spouse worked outside the home and brought in income while the other stayed home, took care of the children and tended to household duties. If the marriage ended, the spouse who worked paid spousal support to the one who stayed home until he or she could get on his or her feet financially. In some states, the courts even ordered permanent and lifetime alimony after a divorce. However, those laws are changing, and someone who is going through the dissolution of his or her marriage should plan for the future, alimony may no longer be paid.

First, individuals in this situation will need to prepare for reentry into the workforce so they no longer need to rely on spousal support. They can consider alimony payments as extra money for as long as they receive them. They should also talk to a career coach, take an aptitude test, assess their strengths and possibly update their education or training. If they want to begin a business, they should talk to a CPA so they can plan accordingly.

Next, they should downsize their residence so that they will pay less in mortgage. In addition to saving money on house payments, they can also reduce their overall household expenses. They should then draw up a financial plan and adjust it if needed to compensate for any reduction in spousal support. These individuals should also look for other ways to save money, such as eating out less and cutting down on entertainment. Finally, they should make a plan for short- and long-term savings so they can prepare for the future.

In addition to the emotional shock of divorce, the financial adjustment of the end of a marriage can also be challenging. A family attorney might be able to help clients work out acceptable spousal support payments or assist with equitably dividing assets.

Source: Fox Business, "How to Financially Readjust for Post-Divorce Life", Andrea Murad, August 02, 2013

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