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It is not that it is uncommon but you depend on the financial situation of the paying spouse. Often times, a party does not have enough money in the bank, to pay a lump sum and get it over with. Moreover, some parties would rather use that money for other purposes and just pay as needed. They may want to use it for investment purposes or gain interest on it, instead of just paying it out and being without that disposable cash, in case they need it. It is a good way to get it over with and avoid having to worry about it over the years if a person can afford it.
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