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Can i sell or assign to someone else my remaining spousal maintenance or CS payments in exchange for a lump sum payment now?

Bellevue, WA |

I was awarded 9 years of spousal support in my divorce and child support. 5 years remain. I need a large sum of money now to pay some large debts (attorney's fees). Is it legal for me to sell and for someone or a company to buy my remaining support payments? What about child support payments? i see companies advertise that they will pay me cash now for "structured settlements". i'm getting conflicting answers. Another option would be to assign my support payments over to my attorney? I owe her a lot of money and she has told me she will quit if i don't guarantee payment of her fees. I get different opinions from people so i thought i should ask the experts. thank you!

Attorney Answers 2

  1. Never heard of such a thing. It sounds contrary to public policy to me, and might be barred if brought to the attention of the court. It’s always best to consult with a good family law attorney to discuss the details before you act. See my AVVO Legal Guides on child support for more information about the legal issues raised by your inquiry. Click on my photo. On my AVVO home page click on "View Contributions" or scroll down further and click on "Legal Guides." Scroll down the list of my 29 Legal Guides and select the topics relevant to your question. If you like my answer and Legal Guides, please make sure you mark them as “helpful.”

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  2. Structured settlements are paid by insurance companies through the purchase of annuities for the beneficiary and therefore the periodic payments are considered "guaranteed" which will not be the case for your spousal support payments, which probably terminate on your death or ex-spouses' death and might also be subject to modification. So while an assignment of future spousal support is "legal" i don't think you will get anyone to buy the obligation, except perhaps your ex paying you a lump sum for a release of all spousal support obligations for all time.

    As Attorney Bruce said, a child support assignment is probably void as against public policy, so while not "illegal" is would be unenforceable by the purchaser and therefore no one would buy the child support stream of payments with a lump sum.

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