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Part one: Mistakes to avoid with alimony

We live in an age in which divorce is an ever-common occurrence. However, with the end of marriage, many individuals also develop a sense of entitlement - an expectation that an ex spouse will continue to support them financially. Alimony (also called spousal support) is a financial payment that may be awarded to one spouse to help him or her maintain the style of living to which he or she has is accustomed to.

Because women are often the ones who sacrifice their careers to stay home and raise the children, they are usually the ones to whom spousal support is awarded. Alimony payments are intended to give women the financial platform they need to begin rebuilding their futures, but many women squander the money and drain their support within a few years.

An article in The Huffington Post discusses the changes in alimony payments over the years. Laws used to penalize individuals for leaving marriages by making them pay lifetime spousal support. Now, temporary support is becoming increasingly common. However, because many women have not been responsible for the finances during their marriages, they do not have realistic ideas about the cost of living. They do not budget an appropriate percentage of the money to spend each year, and they indulge in the misconception that their financial means are bottomless.

Rather than using their alimony checks as an investment into their future, many women view the support as paychecks. They continue treating themselves to unnecessary expenses and try to maintain the lavish lifestyles to which they were accustomed. In reality, many women could continue living comfortably on their alimony checks if they met with a financial planner. They could learn about the most effective investment methods or invest the money in education that could lead to high-salaried positions.

Read the next post to learn more about the mistakes people have made after high-asset divorce, and the lessons you can learn about the most effective ways to make your alimony support a comfortable lifestyle.

Source: The Huffington Post, "The Biggest Mistake Women Make With Alimony," Jill Brooke, 4 February 2011

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