Divorce and Alimony
Rarely is separating from your spouse an easy thing to do, even for couples who agreed it was the right decision. Things can become tense quickly if the topic of alimony pops up. One spouse may have made more money during the marriage, while the other had more domestic roles. Or, perhaps both spouses worked but had a vast discrepancy between their salaries. Alimony may be needed if one spouse is going to face financial struggles due to the separation. This is where knowing how to negotiate the terms of alimony with your spouse over mediation or through your lawyers can be helpful.
What a Mediator or Lawyer Does
Family lawyers in Bloomington, Illinois and/or mediators can help two spouses negotiate over alimony terms. If you are using collaborative methods or mediation to hopefully resolve your divorce case, you can try to agree upon an alimony amount without court interference. Keep in mind that you could end up standing in front of a judge disputing alimony if you and your spouse are unable to reach an agreement. So, it can be helpful to put your best efforts into negotiation through other means instead.
Gathering Information to Negotiate
Whether you are the spouse fighting for or against alimony, it is important to bring forward tangible information about your finances so you can negotiate effectively. Documents such as pay stubs, bills, healthcare premiums, and other expenses can help you show your spouse the extent to which you need help or are able to provide financial support. Most states require that each spouse discloses certain financial details during the divorce process.
Even if it is clear that one spouse will be paying while the other receives, it is crucial that an amount is agreed upon that doesn’t put the paying spouse in financial trouble while sees to it that the receiving spouse gets the help he or she needs.
Using Factors Judges Consider
When negotiating with your spouse about alimony, it can be useful to have an idea of what factors a judge would use to determine the outcome. By having this information, you have a foundation for where to start with your comprising. Here are just a few examples of the factors a court judge may consider when handling an alimony dispute:
- Income and expense details: a judge may request a report of both spouse’s earnings and how much they spend on things like bills and utilities each month. One spouse may make more money, but then have more due in bills related to necessities of living. Both income and expenses are vital details.
- Overtime, benefits, and bonuses: these variables aren’t always predictable, but if they happen they are to be factored into a spouse’s total earnings. If the spouse reliably receives a bonus or overtime pay on a regular basis, a court judge may take an average of this number and factor into an alimony formula.
- Spouse’s separate assets: if a spouse has separate assets, the other spouse is entitled to know the value. These assets may be factored into the judge’s decision based on where you live when calculating alimony amount.
Thanks to Pioletti, Pioletti & Nichols for their insight into family law and how to negotiate terms of alimony.