The Buck Stops Here: Options for Long-Term Spousal Support

In a nutshell, long-term spousal support (also referred to as ‘post judgment’ support or ‘permanent’ support) usually lasts for up to half the length of the marriage (assuming your marriage is less than 10 years). If you were married for 10 years or more, support may (but not always) continue past the five-year mark and even extend for many years past that point (depending on the facts of your case). In the area of spousal support, the judicial officer on your case has a lot of discretion because it is such a case-by-case analysis. As such, you have a lot of room for negotiation.

Once it has been determined that long-term spousal support is available, there are several things to consider: Should you reserve over the issue and handle it down the road? Should you terminate it, such that one or both parties do not have the option to request it from the other? Should you make it modifiable or non-modifiable? Should you offer a buyout? Because spousal support can have such a long-lasting impact based on which of these options you chose, it is always a good idea to consult with an lawyer (and possibly a CPA) who can help you decide how to proceed (i.e. walk you through the long-term spousal support factors, analyze the specific facts of your case, and discuss possible tax implications).

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