Negotiating Alimony with Your Spouse
Coming to an agreement on alimony may be one of the most contentious issues in your divorce. Without reaching an agreement, you and your soon-to-be-ex spouse will end up battling in court before a judge. Time, cost, and even relationships can be better conserved by negotiating with your spouse to arrive at an agreement regarding alimony payments (and can result in a more mutually agreeable arrangement than one made categorically by a stranger). Here are some tips on how to approach negotiating alimony with your spouse to maximize your chances of an equitable and reasonable outcome.
Think Like a Judge
Judges in the state of Florida award alimony based on two factors: need of the receiving spouse, and the ability to pay of the paying spouse. Within these two factors, judge may consider elements like the length of the marriage, the division of property, each spouse’s financial resources, ages, and health conditions, how childcare will be divided, and where each spouse is with regard to career development and employability. So when preparing to negotiate alimony, think like a judge. Evaluate factors the way a judge would, and find the facts that support your proposals as well as those that support your ex-spouse’s. Exploring arguments from a variety of perspectives can better prepare you to anticipate your ex-spouse’s points and the likely issues that will come up during negotiations.
In order to properly prepare for negotiating an alimony agreement, and consistent with thinking like a judge, you should take some time to evaluate your and your spouse’s needs. Because you will almost definitely need to prepare monthly income and expense statements during the process, evaluating your and your ex-spouse’s needs early on can assist you in drawing up and collecting the required documentation. Also recall that inflation and prices will likely rise, and be sure to take that into consideration when evaluating long-term needs. When evaluating needs, take into consideration also that the judge may view a need as that which is required to sustain a similar standard of living to the one enjoyed during the marriage for both parties (and not, for instance, needs like food and shelter).
Get Some Help
No matter how skilled a negotiator you are, you likely only have one opportunity to ensure your alimony agreement. In order to receive the best and fairest outcome, you would be well advised to seek out expert assistance. Many people believe that a divorce or family attorney complicates or increases the tension in divorces or separation or that an attorney cannot assist with out-of-court matters like negotiation, but the truth is actually the opposite. The help of an attorney can decrease stress and tension in divorces, and while not every attorney or firm has experience with dealing with alimony or conducting out-of-court negotiations, it may be wise to find one.
At Schwartz | White, we retain qualified Boca Raton family lawyers with specific experience in negotiating alimony and conducting mediation or other non-court alternatives to arriving at divorce or alimony agreements. Call 561-391-9943 today for a consultation.