The options that are available when determining your legal rights and obligations in divorce are not limited strictly to what the law provides. In fact, most cases do not ever make it to trial. Therefore, your final divorce agreement is often the product of negotiation between you and your spouse and your respective attorneys.
This gives you a wide range of options to choose from in creating a result that is personal and unique to your own circumstances.
When resolving such issues as division of marital property and debts, child support and alimony, the first thing you should do is to explore your values, goals, interests, and needs, as well as those of your spouse. Here is where you can get creative.
For example, instead of fighting over the length and amount of alimony you believe you “have to pay” according to what a court might decide at trial, you can have a financial advisor or accountant prepare what is called a “net cash flow” analysis for you and your spouse. This is where you and your spouse each prepare a budget of income and expenses and your financial advisor or accountant might calculate your income net of taxes perhaps using several different scenarios for paying alimony.
For instance, where your goal is to save for retirement, you might discover that you are able to invest your tax savings from your alimony payments for retirement. Or where you and your spouse both wish for your children to remain in the marital home for a particular amount of time, you might be able to create a mechanism that provides for periodic payments of alimony during that time.
The focus of the negotiations then becomes what is important to each of you, rather than what is objectively “fair” in the unlikely event that your case goes to trial. This gives you the power to create the options and agree on the results that are right for you.
Please forward this article to anyone who might find it useful or call me at (973) 292-9090 to discuss together the options that are right for you.