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Alimony doesn't have to be a forever agreement

Many people look at alimony as a life-time agreement, but that's not always realistic. Understanding that alimony doesn't have to be a forever agreement is important when you're going through a divorce, especially if you're the one who is going to be making the payments. While the circumstances of your life now might mean alimony in a certain amount makes sense, the financial circumstances for both parties can change and it might be worth getting a temporary agreement in place or agreeing to revisit the amounts periodically.

For example, one man went through a divorce in 2003. At that time, he was ordered to pay $90,000 per year to his ex, which accounted for about 30 percent of his income at the time. But incomes change, especially in the economic environments of this century. Over the years, the man was able to get that alimony amount lowered to $800,000 a year, which ended up being over half of his income. In such cases, an alimony payment that always stays the same can be almost impossible for the person to manage.

At the same time, the person receiving alimony might originally believe it's enough to help manage expenses, but if you miscalculate, you could be partly out of luck. It's often more difficult to go back to get more alimony than it is to go back to get your alimony payments lowered, and that's difficult enough.

To hedge your bets, work with a divorce law professional during the divorce to ensure your alimony negotiations are well-thought-out. If you do decide a change is necessary in the future, work with a professional again to make your case.

Source: CNN Money, "Taking the 'Permanent' Out of Permanent Alimony," Geoff Williams, accessed Dec. 09, 2016

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