Divorce is one of the most emotionally stressful events a person can experience, a fact that undoubtedly leads to numerous wrong decisions in filing subsequent papers. One of the most common areas where mistakes are made is in the maintenance negotiation process. Alimony is confusing to work out. The process of determining the amount of child support – or “child support” – that one breadwinner spouse must make to the other varies in each state. The process requires a heavy trade-off between finances, income, assets, and potential income of the non-breadwinners in the marriage. Combined with the emotional tightrope of the divorce process – and the pain that so often remains after a marriage is broken up – silly mistakes are bound to happen.
To help you avoid these, we’ve spoken to a variety of experts to see what common mistakes to avoid when negotiating alimony payments – and what to keep in mind to keep calm.
Opt for lump sums or short-term, costly payments
“Every time I stand in for the breadwinner, the first thing they think is: I want to pay the least and I want to pay for the shortest possible time,” says Vikki Ziegler, divorce attorney who has worked in family law for 20 years. While she understands that people want to wipe their hands off the entire marriage asap, Vikki says that this is always a big mistake.
“Sometimes you have to think about paying longer but paying less,” says Ziegler. “People want to buy their livelihood. It’s like a bargain shopper who gets a lot of stuff because it’s on sale. ”Add to this the fact that people with long-term, low-cost payments can end child support if their ex-wife starts living together or someone else too marry. If you pay a lump sum, even though you might wipe your hands off it, you will never get that money back.
Do not seek help from outside experts
“Fathers, and even their attorneys, overlook the need to have at least two experts in any case dealing with significant alimony,” said Scott Trout of Cordell and Cordell, the world’s largest male law firm. These type of experts are a vocational rehabilitation specialist and accountant, according to Trout. “They are an essential part of not only minimizing the impact, but maybe even preventing child maintenance payments,” he says.
A professional rehabilitation worker will interview the other party in the divorce – the one who has not worked – and, knowing their skills, education, and career history, will try to figure out what their salary might be if they re-entered work. This is important because most states do not have a child support calculator.
An auditor or accountant, preferably a family accountant, will take care of everything. This is especially important given the upcoming tax law changes that will abolish child support deductions. A family accountant can actually look at someone’s bank accounts and see what a family’s lifestyle really is like – and how much money it takes to maintain that lifestyle.
Hide (or spend) money to reduce payments
“Don’t spend all your money thinking you’re paying less child support,” says Ziegler, who says this is a regular tactic used by despised spouses. “It depends mostly on your income, not your wealth. So people think, oh, let me spend all my money and the court will think, poor man me. It doesn’t work that way. “If someone does that, she says, they’re broke and pays alimony after they’ve spent all of your cash. And don’t even think about trying to hide or divert income in court. If someone gets caught will – and he is caught, warns Ziegler – “his credibility will be shot.”
No information on the reasons for the termination
Many maintenance payment agreements have specific formulations regarding the basis for ending payments. Whether it is about a change in financial circumstances or a new marriage, many fathers make the mistake of being imprecise when and how the maintenance is cut off.
“You need to ensure the strongest language for the deal in your negotiations,” says Trout. “If you want to pay, you want a language of coexistence, not just the language of remarriage. Something that says, “In the event the woman is living with someone, intimate or not, be it a roommate, if she is receiving financial support in any way, you can either say that it is a reason for a change which is changed by agreement; or reasons for termination. ‘”
A lot of people overlook this, says Trout, thinking that remarriage is enough. Such specific language ensures that the ex won’t pay their new partner’s rent when they find someone new and things get serious enough to live together. It also helps strengthen their case for any change in financial circumstances as a reason for renegotiating payments.
Don’t worry about yourself
“I think it is crucial to get help from a therapist regarding the emotional aspects of a divorce,” says Ziegler. “Maintenance can make people very angry. It’s no fun making another payment to someone when you’re working so hard. I have divorced many people and most people refuse to get help. But when you are calm, you can make informed decisions much easier. I think it’s an important part of the whole divorce process. “
Oops! Please try again.
Thanks for subscribing!