If you are in the divorce process, your future financial stability can be a top concern. You may well be interested in collecting spousal support, also referred to as alimony. On the flip side, as the support payor you want to make sure that you pay a truly fair amount for a reasonable period of time (ie. you don’t want to overpay).
However, there are no guarantees when it comes to whether you will ultimately collect spousal support or on the flip side – if you will be paying the “right” amount. There are mistakes people can be prone to make that might jeopardize their chances of achieving an equitable resolution.
Some common errors include:
- Being unreasonable – One of the fastest ways to shut down discussions during a divorce is by making unreasonable demands. While the complexity of the many decided cases could boggle one’s mind, thankfully there is assistance to determine what is fair. There are guidelines that do serve as the backdrop or even the “anchor” to negotiations. (Understanding these “Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines” most certainly requires the assistance of a family law lawyer.)
- Letting your emotions dictate your actions – People may be angry, bitter or resentful; they can feel wronged and betrayed. Justified or not, these emotions can cloud a person’s judgment. To avoid making mistakes that feel right in the short term but are not in your best interests, work with your lawyer to assess the facts and make informed decisions.
- Misunderstanding the purpose of support – Spousal support is not a punishment; it is not a reward. Depending on the circumstances of individual cases, the purpose of support can be reimbursement or to help a financially disadvantaged party pay expenses until they can support themselves. Theoretical bases for support are (1) contractual; (2) compensatory; (3) means and needs.
- Lying about or hiding your finances – Not only is lying about your finances during divorce a moral misstep, but it is also a hugely serious legal one. Concealing assets, undervaluing assets, and hiding or misreporting income are all big no-no’s. Less than frank and comprehensive financial disclosure is a prescription for disaster and it most likely will backfire against you in one way or another. You could wind up facing financial penalties; you could even find yourself excluded from further participation in the case.
Avoiding these mistakes can make it easier to secure a satisfactory outcome regarding support matters.
Receiving financial support after divorce can be a lifeline for individuals who were financially dependent on a spouse or sacrificed their own financial stability for their partner during a marriage. Working with a lawyer to strengthen your case or negotiate on your behalf can help you pursue the support you deserve (and if you are the support payor – working with a lawyer will help you to assess your potential obligations).