Spouses who decide it’s time to part ways will ultimately have to make some very tough decisions in regards to their finances, property, child custody, alimony, and more. It is usually recommended that spouses try to reach an agreement between themselves over alimony to avoid having to attend court regarding the issue. While a family court judge will try to establish an arrangement that works for both partners, a verdict you will be happy with isn’t guaranteed. After all, who better than you and your spouse to truly understand the complexities of your life and finances?
Hiring a Lawyer and Mediator
One of the first things any divorcing spouse must do is get help from a lawyer, like a divorce lawyer from the Law Office of Daniel J. Wright. Many spouses may be hesitant to hire a lawyer out of fear that it will make their relationship turn even more sour. However, it is all about who you choose to hire. Some attorneys are quite aggressive, while others will support your desire to keep the peace as much as possible.
Your lawyer may advise attending a mediation session in which you and your spouse will negotiate the terms of alimony in front of a professional mediator. This person doesn’t decide the outcome. He or she is a neutral party who is experienced in communication and settling disputes. If you can create an alimony agreement that works for both of you, then you can present it to the court for final approval instead of having them impose the terms of alimony for you.
Considering Your Spouse’s Resources
Whether you are seeking alimony or may be the spouse paying it, you will have to go over each other’s financial situation in-depth. You likely already have an idea of how much your spouse makes and their expenses, but it will be crucial that every detail is brought forward. If one spouse holds back information, then the most fair arrangement cannot be found.
Almost every state requires the divorcing spouses to disclose their finances as a component of a divorce proceeding. This means you will have to show your earnings, expenses, assets, and anything else that can influence alimony. By evaluating each other’s resources, you can more accurately determine who is in need, how much should be paid, and whether the paying spouse can reasonably afford the amount.
The Discovery Stage
During your divorce, there will be what is called a “discovery phase” where information is shared between both spouses and his or her respective lawyers. It is important that each spouse shows complete transparency regarding separate assets, income and expenses, benefits, overtime pay, and bonuses. Your lawyer can answer any questions you have during this stage, as it can feel the most vulnerable.
While as a divorcing spouse, you may be tempted to hide certain facts about your income, your lawyer is likely to advise against it. If you aren’t able to reach an agreement and have to go to court, the judge may seriously frown upon information that you have held back during the process.