Ending a marriage is complicated enough without having to instantly divide up all the marital assets and debts you’ve accumulated together over the years. You built a financial life as a couple, so unwinding it is rarely straightforward. This is where creative solutions like structured settlements can help ease the transition into your new solo financial life.
What Is A Structured Settlement?
In a nutshell, structured settlements allow you to stretch out divorce payouts over time rather than getting one big lump sum. Your ex-spouse or their insurance company sets up scheduled payments to you on a monthly, quarterly, or annual basis. This provides income security without needing to rely on your former partner constantly paying what they owe.
Structured settlements are often used in injury lawsuits but are becoming more common in divorces. The main advantage of divorce structured settlements here is transforming an abstract asset (marital property) like a shared house or business into a steady cash flow you can count on. This avoids financial shocks down the road if your ex’s finances change.
Customizing Divorce Structured Settlement Payments to Fit Your Needs
Creating a personalized payment schedule is the real power of structured divorce settlements. The flexibility allows the plan to match your specific financial needs now and in the future.
For example, you may want to receive $2,000 per month for living expenses, $10,000 once a year for large purchases, and lump sums when each child starts college. You can build all sorts of income streams into the settlement like:
- Monthly or quarterly periodic payments to supplement other income
- Annual sums for vacations, vehicle purchases, etc.
- Tuition fees paid directly to the university
- Down payment for a future mortgage or other partner’s business interest
- Retirement income beginning at age 65
The options are endless!!!
An expert like Fairfield Funding can craft the perfect settlement terms to provide money exactly when you require it.
How Divorce Settlements Offer Safety and Security
Relying on an ex to keep up with house payments, car loans, tuition fees and more for years creates risk. If their financial situation declines, so does your economic stability. Structured settlements provide reliability that other agreements can lack.
Insurance companies back the payments, taking on the obligation rather than your former spouse. This means if something happens to your ex or they stop making payments, you continue receiving checks unaffected.
Certain structured payments also give tax advantages compared to lump sums, making your money go further. Proper setup provides certainty about both the amounts and timing of cash flows for planning purposes.
Getting Professional Advice!
These settlements require careful planning based on your unique situation. Consulting financial and legal experts ensures you make informed choices before signing the divorce papers.
An advisor helps weigh alternatives like promissory notes, property liens, or hybrid half lump-sum/half structured payments. Lawyers ensure the agreement clearly defines acceptable income sources, audit rights, consequences for missed payments, and more to protect you if things sour at the end of your paying spouse.
Maximizing the Benefits Of Future Payments While Minimizing Risks
Structured settlements seem great, but you must implement them carefully to realize the full benefits. Pay special attention to:
Securing Payment Obligations
Prioritize guarantees over promises. Utilize annuities, trusts, or other tools to ensure you receive owed funds.
Building in Safeguards
Require transparency from your ex on their finances. Check in with income sources directly. Audit rights provide verification.
Planning for Issues
People’s situations change. Include contingencies like penalties, liens, or other repercussions if payments come up short.
If problems crop up, address them immediately. Don’t let missed payments and growing resentment fester. Enforce the terms swiftly.
With forethought, structured settlements help take the stress out of divorce by transforming shared assets into reliable income streams. This simplifies your new financial life.
Don’t hesitate to give us a quick call and consult us to craft a personalized plan matching your needs and putting protections in place for your best interest!
Alternatives and Variations For Equal Distribution
Besides structured settlements, couples can agree to:
- Lump Sum Buyouts: One-time payment releasing one spouse from financial obligation.
- Promissory Notes: Written payment obligation without annuity backing.
- Property Liens: Owed payments secured by ex-spouse’s real estate or other assets.
Hybrid approaches couple aspects of structured settlements and the alternatives above. The best solution depends on the divorcing couple’s unique situation and risk factors!
What are the differences between divorce decrees, divorce proceedings, and divorce settlements?
A divorce decree is the final court judgment legally dissolving a marriage. Divorce proceedings refer to the legal process to get to a decree, including filing paperwork, negotiating terms, and court hearings. A divorce settlement is the written agreement between spouses on the division of assets, support, custody, etc. Settlements become part of the final decree but are agreed to earlier in proceedings.
Is a business started by one spouse before marriage treated differently in divorce?
Yes, how divorce courts treat premarital property and business investments depends on whether you live in an “equitable distribution” or “community property” state. In community property states, a business started and owned before marriage usually remains that spouse’s separate property when dividing up assets. Check local laws on asset division.