If you have decided to divorce your spouse, you probably know that the best way to go about it is to negotiate an out-of-court agreement. This includes negotiating all aspects of your divorce agreement, including alimony. Here are some of the tips to keep in mind during alimony negotiations.
You need to be realistic with your demands and request for something that your spouse has. For example, there is no sense asking for $5,000 per month if your spouse earns roughly the same amount per month; even the court can't make such a determination. Making unreasonable demands will only prolong the negotiations.
Understand All Your Spouse's Incomes
Your spouse's income is one of the most important factors when it comes to determining alimony. Unfortunately, many people make the mistake of considering only formal income or the most obvious income, which comes from your spouse's day job. However, you should consider all forms of income, including those from side businesses, bonuses from work, health insurance benefits, and company benefits, among others.
Know How Long You Need the Alimony
You have probably heard of permanent alimony; what you may not know is that alimony can never be permanent in the literal meaning of the word. Permanent alimony is only permanent in the sense that it is meant to stay that way for the foreseeable future; one of you can always go to court to seek modification in case one of your financial situations changes. Therefore, you need to know how long it can take you to get back on your feet, financially speaking, because that is when your alimony may be modified. For example, if you are currently in school furthering your studies, the alimony may be modified when you graduate and get a job.
Understand Your State's Alimony Calculation
Most states have a formula for calculating alimony. The formula takes into consideration the usual factors such as incomes, expenses during the marriage, expected expenditures, asset division, debts, health needs, and financial rehabilitation needs. Before sitting down to negotiate alimony, it's advisable to scrutinize this formula because it should give you a guideline of what you can get if you go to court. Therefore, the negotiated alimony amount should not deviate too much from what this formula can give you.
Of course, you don't have to do all the above alone; in fact, it's not advisable to negotiate your divorce without legal help. Consult a family law attorney to ensure you aren't disadvantaged during the negotiations.