For years they no doubt listened as their husbands analyzed the intricacies of a side kick, zone coverage, or lightning.
But now, many former NFL wives may have to create a few special pieces themselves.
For months, the owners and players of the National Football League have been embroiled in a seemingly persistent employment contract dispute. If the two sides can’t agree on a solution, NFL players could soon be without paychecks – and that means many NFL ex-wives are now wondering about the future of their alimony payments.
According to an article on Bloomberg.com, NFL players are already standing in front of their lawyers so they can cut child support and alimony payments to reflect lower incomes IF The contract fight slows the NFL season.
Do the players’ ex-wives have recourse? What can you do when you find yourself in a similar situation?
What if your ex-husband’s financial situation changes and he cannot meet his maintenance obligations?
To answer these questions, let’s first take a look at some basic maintenance information.
Maintenance (also known as spousal maintenance or alimony) is the term used to describe the payments made by one spouse (the “deserving” spouse) to the other (the “undeserved” spouse) after the divorce is over. The main purpose of maintenance is to provide economic support to the dependent spouse and to enable the “financially disadvantaged” spouse to maintain a comparable standard of living that they enjoyed during the marriage.
While there are a variety of options for maintenance, for the purposes of this article I’ll only discuss the following two:
- Regular maintenance (also known as periodic maintenance)
- Prepayment of the lump sum instead of maintenance
And as you can imagine, each has advantages and disadvantages.
Regular maintenance is paid at fixed intervals (usually monthly). This regular payment plan will normally continue under the divorce settlement until: 1) the spouse receiving it remarries (or in some cases lives together); 2) either party dies (read on to find out more); 3) One of the parties goes to court to request a change due to a significant change in financial circumstances.
So you see, factor # 3 says it all:
Yes, regular maintenance payments can be changed (up or down).
As some NFL ex-wives will soon discover, a judge can cut alimony if the payer’s financial situation changes significantly.
Do these NFL ex-wives have legal recourse?
Do it. But their options are limited. All changes to child support, child support and / or other divorce-related payments must be approved by the court. However, if the judge agrees that the ex-husband can no longer make the current maintenance amount, that judge may decide to reduce these required payments.
What would I recommend in such a situation?
As is often the case with divorce – and the NFL! – The best defense is usually a good offense. In other words, it is best to build a qualified divorce team from the start that will help you analyze and consider all of the options available to you In front You agree to any divorce settlement.
Since my law firm only represents women, in our opinion, in the vast majority of cases, an advance payment as a maintenance advance is the preferred option if the woman is to become a maintenance recipient. Of course, before we make such a recommendation, we need to make sure that:
- Sufficient assets are available to make such a lump sum payment.
- The recipient is not a wasteful.
- There are no pending lawsuits against the recipient.
- The recipient has good ongoing financial advice on securing assets and how the lump-sum settlement, along with the rest of her settlement, will last as long as possible.
An advance payment instead of maintenance is a one-time payment of a fixed amount. Obviously, any NFL ex-wife who agreed to a lump sum payment isn’t particularly worried now about a possible drop in her ex-husband’s income. She’s already got what she’s due and her ex-husband can’t come back to request changes. There are no “revisions” for either party.
Since the entire payment is made at once, an upfront fee requires careful and considered financial management. As mentioned above, you need to handle the one-time payment appropriately so that it maintains your lifestyle over the long term.
The Divorce Financial Strategists ™ here at Bedrock Divorce Advisors ™ are careful to discuss each of these maintenance options with all of our clients and their divorce attorneys because we have seen how devastating it can be for a woman to lose her maintenance income.
In addition, we recommend that our customers always take out life insurance in cases where there are regular maintenance payments to cover these maintenance payments in the event of the death of their ex-husband. This type of life insurance would allow her to receive a tax-free, lump-sum payment of what she would have received over time from her alimony, child support and / or other divorce-related payments.
It is best to get this life insurance policy before the divorce is final. Remember: after the divorce, your ex-husband may refuse to participate in the required medical examination. Or you may find out during the process that it is not insurable. In any case, you need to know this before the divorce so that you can find alternative ways to secure your divorce settlement if necessary.
In short, build a solid divorce team and know the game book inside out. You never want to rely on a Hail Mary Pass for a secure financial future.
Jeffrey A. Landers, CDFA ™ is a Divorce Financial Strategist ™ and founder of Bedrock Divorce Advisors, LLC (http://www.BedrockDivorce.com), a divorce finance strategy firm that works exclusively with women who may be going through or through a financially difficult divorce . He also advises women entrepreneurs on what steps they can take now to make their company “divorce-proof” in the event of a future divorce. He can be reached at Landers@BedrockDivorce.com.
All articles / blog posts are for informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. If you require legal advice, see a lawyer licensed in your jurisdiction. The opinions expressed are exclusively those of the author, who is not a lawyer.
Follow Jeffrey A. Landers on Twitter: www.twitter.com/Bedrock_Divorce