Alimony, Spousal Support, Maintenance
If You're Facing a Divorce, You’re Probably Worried About Your Financial Future
The same worries keep flooding your mind:
- Can I afford to keep the house?
- Will I be able to pay my bills?
- Can I afford health insurance?
- Will I have enough to be able to save for my retirement?
All of these concerns are typical in divorce and have one thing in common:
When it comes to money and divorce, you’ll find there's one topic that's more stressful, more emotional and more difficult to deal with than any other.
Whether you call it alimony, spousal support or maintenance, coming to an agreement in which one party gives their ex-spouse money to support their future lifestyle is challenging, to say the least.
The Purpose of Alimony, Spousal Support, Maintenance
Why does one party even have to pay alimony at all?
First, it’s important to understand that alimony is not meant to unjustly enrich one party or penalize the other.
Rather, the idea is to strike a balance that allows you and your ex to live somewhat equally for a period of time after your divorce, just as you did before you got divorced.
This gives one of you time to get back on your feet and become self-sufficient.
The Difference Between Spousal Support Formulas and Spousal Support Guidelines
When it comes to child support, there's a mathematical formula that outputs a specific minimum amount one party should pay the other.
And the formula is based on a series of clearly defined inputs.
But there are very few formulas for calculating alimony - regardless of any “calculator” you may have found on the Internet.
Alimony laws in most states provide some general guidelines in the form of “statutory factors” but nothing specific to help you calculate a specific amount of spousal support applicable in your case.
And add to that the heightened emotional state you and your spouse are probably in and the fact that you’re getting a divorce and are supposed to be severing your financial ties, and you can see why this is such a difficult issue to resolve.
Coming to a fair agreement on alimony with your soon-to-be ex-spouse requires more than just a passing conversation or a wild guess.And there is no such thing as "typical alimony."
Mediation is the best way to determine what is fair spousal support.
Unfortunately, alimony laws in the United States aren’t clear. They provide very little in the way of guidance and are changing constantly.
That makes determining spousal support extremely challenging.
A highly skilled mediator will take the time to learn the specifics of your particular situation, educate you on how the guidelines apply and expertly help you negotiate an arrangement that's reasonable and makes sense to both of you.