3 Things to Know About Spousal Support Before Your Divorce
When you see that your marriage is coming to an end, it may be difficult and stressful to wrap your head around the many implications, but you must begin preparing for the difficult process which lies ahead as soon as possible to prevent further stress and dilemma. One area that often becomes the most complicated to deal with is the area of spousal support, also known as alimony.
Whether or not you realize it, your marriage is viewed as a form of legal agreement. You and your spouse agreed to form this partnership, and when the partnership ends, you have to come to a fair and just decision regarding how assets and income are going to be divided amongst the two of you. This includes ensuring that both spouses have sufficient income based on the standards established during the marriage, both after the divorce is filed and after it is finalized.
Whether you believe that you will be receiving or paying spousal support, there are a few key things you should keep in mind when contemplating a divorce:
#1 – Nobody Should “Win” During a Spousal Support Agreement
All too often, spouses go into the divorce process thinking that they have to “win”, meaning that the spousal support decision will be ruled largely in his or her favor. This is certainly the wrong attitude to have when going into the negotiation and settlement phase because not only are you going to make the process more difficult for everyone involved, but you are also likely going to be disappointed and create unneeded animosity.
A spousal support agreement should be a fair compromise between two parties. Each spouse will benefit over the long term if both are willing to have an open and honest discussion with each other, and with a family law attorney, regarding how to best recuperate from a dissolution of a marriage. Rarely will you get everything that you want in terms of alimony or other financial decisions, but being willing to communicate and compromise will certainly help your case.
#2 – There are Alternatives to Court
It is understandable that many couples do not want to bring their spousal support case in front of a court where a judge will have to make the final decision. Many do not want to do this simply because they do not like the actual experience of going to court. Others may not want their personal and financial information discussed in this public setting. Others don’t like the idea of a stranger making a decision based solely on how a case is presented in the courtroom setting.
Fortunately, there are alternatives to court room that can be considered. One of the most popular methods is mediation. During mediation, an attorney facilitates the negotiation between you and your spouse. It is wise to have a family law attorney involved in the mediation process so that you can ensure that your mediation covers all of the necessary elements of a spousal support agreement and that the decisions reached are fair.
If you and your spouse are able to work together easily, there are many benefits that come with choosing mediation. The most significant is that you and your spouse are given the freedom of making choices yourselves, instead of relying on court rulings. If you are unable to come to a reasonable agreement, then you may need to have the case heard in court.
#3 – It is Best to Focus on the Big Picture Instead of the Present
In many cases, spouses who are facing an impending divorce get much too focused the small details. For example, they may become obsessed with who will get to keep a particular piece of furniture or a certain appliance, while they should really be considering how they are each going to feasibly run a one-income household or pay the mortgage on the martial home. A divorce is a life event that can have significant long-term financial consequences that will hinge on how the spousal support negotiation is conducted. That is a major reason why it is always important to keep in mind how these decisions are going to affect your life one, five, and even ten years from now. An experienced family law attorney will be able to discuss these consequences with you when making decisions relating to your spousal agreement.