It depends on your personal situation. Sorry — no black-and-white rule exists. You need to answer numerous questions before making any decisions regarding any combination of marital property and/or spousal support. Some of these questions are:
There are valid reasons to take spousal support. It is particularly valuable when one spouse earns significantly more than the other and the majority of assets are encumbered in a business, home equity, or retirement plan. The decision regarding marital assets or spousal support is the same as all decisions regarding division of marital property — nothing is a stand-alone decision. You must consider and weigh every aspect of the property, your earning capacity, the earning capacity of your spouse, your standard of living, and your long-term future before you can make an informed decision about a package that meets your needs as closely as possible.
Beth Dickson (CFP, CDFA) is a financial planner and mediator practicing at Equitable Solutions in Houston and the head of Texas WIFE, a non-profit agency that helps women take control of their financial future post-divorce.