Should you give up Marital Property for Additional Alimony?

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The division of property (assets) has replaced alimony as the most litigated aspect of divorce. Sometimes a way to resolve a fight, is for one spouse to give up marital property in exchange for additional alimony (or to have to pay less alimony), but should you?

Today there is less of an emphasis on alimony because, in most households, both spouses are members of the workforce and, therefore, there is less, or often no need, for alimony.  In divorces where alimony is anticipated, there is often a give and take that can occur in negotiating for more alimony in exchange for less marital property.

Fighting over assets in a divorce can be expensive. This may not only be because of mounting legal fees but also due to the cost of experts. Each spouse may hire their own appraiser, Realtor, art broker, or other expert to argue what they believe the value of the the asset is. Whether it be a house, a boat, artwork, jewelry or something else, a battle of the experts itself can be costly.

For keeps or just for now?

It may be important and worth considering that, once marital property is received through divorce, the transfer generally cannot be reversed.  However, in contrast, alimony awards may be modifiable if relevant circumstances have changed.  In addition, alimony usually ends if the recipient remarries.

For these reasons, divorcing spouses may be better off taking their share of the marital property. This may depend in part on the spouses age and likelihood of remarrying as well as other factors.

Other considerations for Marital Property and Alimony

Sometimes, if one spouse is to keep a large asset like a house or a boat, they’ll need to take out a loan to pay off their ex. A problem may exist if that spouse is unable to get a mortgage or a loan due to income or credit issues. An agreement to give up marital property for additional alimony (or to pay less alimony, as the case may be), can sometimes be a solution.

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