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Can the Court Require You to Continue Paying Alimony After You Die?


As much as high-income spouses fear alimony orders during divorce, the court tries to divide couples’ assets in ways that do not require alimony payments, when this is possible.  If the lower-income spouse is young enough and healthy enough for employment, then alimony awards tend to be of short duration, and the amounts are based on calculations that factor in the amount of money the recipient spouse can earn from work.  The courts only order permanent alimony if, without it, the recipient spouse would have no means of financial support except to rely on public assistance.  If the court orders you to pay permanent alimony, you must keep paying until you die, your ex-spouse dies, your ex-spouse remarries, or you persuade the court to change its decision.  In other words, if the only choices are for the state to support a financially vulnerable person or for the person’s ex-spouse to provide the support, the courts will place the obligation on the ex-spouse.  If there is no one but you to financially support your ex-spouse, but your own financial situation is precarious, the court might require you to secure alimony.  If the court wants you to secure alimony for your ex-spouse, contact a Boca Raton alimony lawyer.

What Does It Mean to Secure Alimony Payments?

One of the most common ways in which the courts secure alimony and child support is by ordering the paying spouse to maintain a life insurance policy with the recipient spouse or the child as a beneficiary.  This way, if the paying spouse dies while the alimony or child support order is still in effect, the beneficiary gets the same amount he or she would have received if the paying spouse had lived.

At a certain age, though, people age out of being eligible for life insurance.  In this case, the court may order you to place money in a trust for your former spouse, or it may place a lien on unencumbered assets that you own.  For example, a Florida court ordered a man in his 70s to pay permanent alimony to his ex-wife, who was in her 40s.  The former wife was unable to work full-time because of her caregiving obligations for the couple’s youngest son, who had autism and would require financial support from his family even as an adult.  The former husband’s age and fragile health prevented him from obtaining life insurance; therefore, the court secured the alimony by placing a lien on a real estate property the former husband owned, which had never been marital property.  The husband died seven years after the divorce became final, and the lien on the real estate property became a source of dispute during the probate of his estate.

Contact Schwartz | White About Securing an Alimony Award

A South Florida family law attorney can help you if the court has ordered you to secure your alimony payments.  Contact Schwartz | White in Boca Raton, Florida about your case.



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