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Helpful tips for negotiating alimony payments

Alimony and Spousal Support are among the most disputed issues during the divorce process. Although not every case will involve these issues, when alimony and spousal support are involved, it is generally an area of conflict and tension.

Even with the various factors that help determine alimony and spousal support, it can be difficult to estimate an amount and negotiate these issues. Here are some tips to guide individuals through an alimony negotiation.

1. Take an inventory of your finances

One of the primary factors that determine alimony is each spouse's financial circumstances. It can be helpful for individuals to gather information regarding their:

  • Earnings and employment benefits
  • Contributions to mortgage or insurance payments
  • Spending habits
  • Monthly bills and expenses

Going into the negotiation prepared with this information can help support an individual's stance and improve efficiency. It is also helpful to have an understanding of an ex-spouse's finances as well.

2. Consider what your future finances will look like 

The goal of alimony is to help spouses maintain their finances and the standard of living they were used to during the marriage. That requires calculating both current and future finances.

Collecting one's personal financial information can help individuals predict what their financial situation will look like after the divorce and without a second income, but the future after a divorce could bring many changes, including:

  • A new living space and rent
  • A new job and different income
  • A different budget

It is helpful to consider how these changes could influence finances too.

When thinking of the future, it is also important to keep in mind how the new federal tax law impacts new divorce filings. Individuals can no longer make tax deductions for alimony payments.

3. Try and keep emotion out of the negotiation

Many people go into alimony negotiations armed with their feelings of regret, anger and bitterness. Since financial matters are already sensitive issues, these emotions can make matters even more complex.

It can be a challenge to set those emotions aside, but it will often help negotiations go smoothly.

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