Divorce is difficult. It can be emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and financially draining. Even if the separation was amicable, tensions and heartbreak may be felt in abundance. However, it is crucial to not get carried away in your emotions by remembering this is also a time to be strategic. Hiring a family attorney, is recommended during this time. To help increase the chances of negotiations over alimony turning out successful, a lawyer will recommend abiding by this most important rule: being clear on what you can provide or what you need.
Understand Your Current Financial Status
Before you can accurately negotiate who receives or pays alimony and in what amount, it is vital that you understand where you are financially. It is equally as important to know where your spouse stands monetarily as well. Both spouses may be required to share financial information with the other during the discovery phase of divorce. While both spouses are likely to be hesitant, sharing these details can help make coming to an agreement possible. If each spouse is hiding their financial standings and is at odds, then a middle ground is unlikely to be reached.
What it Means to Have a Collaborative Divorce
With a collaborative divorce, it can be useful to hire someone who is a neutral party and works with each spouse regarding their assets, budgets, expenses, and debts. This unbiased third party professional, such as a certified public accountant (CPA), can also help figure out how much both spouses need or are able to pay in alimony based on these numbers. The conversation then focuses on whether both spouses are going to be okay financially after the divorce.
How Alimony May Be Structured
In many instances, the spouse who is receiving alimony doesn’t want to be entirely financially dependent on their ex. If the recipient spouse verbalizes this to the paying spouse, then tensions can be alleviated in addition to figuring out how much is needed and for how long. Alimony may be structured in a couple of different ways, including an amount that decreases over time until zero, paying a lump sum upfront, or the same amount during a specific period.
Spouses who don’t want to write checks to their ex every week or month can decide to provide a single payment in large or transfer assets to the recipient spouse’s name. It may be more digestible for the paying spouse to only have to write one check and then move forward, versus receiving reminders on a recurring basis.
Using Conflict Resolution Approaches
Let’s face it, it can be downright agonizing and frustrating to talk to your spouse during this time. Even with help from an attorney and mediator, discussions can quickly turn hostile. When negotiating with your ex, it can help to use conflict resolution approaches to keep things cool, calm, and collected. Stay level-headed, schedule meetings specifically to talk about alimony, use “I” statements, only talk about your own feelings, and use active listening.