A divorced woman sitting on a bed with a pile of bills and credit cards, and a calculator.

Alimony & Spousal Maintenance: 3 Common Negotiating Mistakes

Whether you’re paying alimony or receiving it following a divorce, it’s a big deal. In many cases, after a divorce, it takes time for former spouses to get their finances back on track. Those who are paying spousal maintenance are often also paying child support, which can put a strain on their finances, because they basically must support their household as well as their former spouse’s household.

For those who are receiving alimony, even with spousal maintenance (and possibly child support), they can struggle to make ends meet. Those who are receiving alimony generally make less than their ex-spouse and may have a hard time increasing their income if they have a low-paying job or were a stay-at-home parent and must reenter the workforce.

The fact that both parties often have valid reasons for the position they take during alimony and spousal maintenance negotiations is what makes it so difficult to reach a fair arrangement regarding the issues. However, it can be done. Unfortunately, if one of the parties makes a mistake during spousal maintenance and alimony negotiations, it can lead to them suffering severe financial consequences for years to come.

The 3 Most Common Mistakes Made During Alimony & Spousal Maintenance Negotiations

There are several mistakes that a person can make when it comes to negotiating an alimony agreement with their former spouse. The following are three of the most common mistakes people make during spousal maintenance negotiations:

  1. Agreeing to a short-term payment plan or lump sum. Many spouses who pay alimony enter negotiations seeking to pay the least amount possible and looking to pay spousal maintenance for as short a period as possible. That strategy is half correct. You’re not likely to pay the least amount possible if you pay a lump sum or agree to a short-term payment plan. Instead, choosing a long-term payment plan is your best bet. Not only do long-term payment plans include lower payments than short-term payment plans, but they also give the spouse paying spousal maintenance a better chance to stop paying alimony early if their former spouse remarries or begins cohabitating with a new partner.
  2. Hiding money. Many people mistakenly think that spending much of their money or hiding their assets before reaching a spousal maintenance agreement will allow them to pay less alimony. However, spousal maintenance is generally based on a person’s income, not their assets, which means spending money or hiding assets won’t help lower your alimony payments.
  3. Failing to specify grounds for termination. Alimony agreements generally include terms for terminating the agreement. For example, if the spouse receiving spousal maintenance begins living with someone they’re dating or they get remarried, then the alimony agreement is often terminated. However, in some cases, those who are paying spousal maintenance fail to include specific and strong language regarding grounds for terminating the agreement. For instance, some spousal maintenance agreements only include language regarding terminating the agreement if the spouse receiving alimony gets remarried and fails to specify that spousal maintenance should also end if the person receiving payments begins cohabitating with a new significant other.

Schedule a Free Consultation with Our Experienced Spousal Maintenance & Alimony Attorneys Today

Our divorce lawyers at Levi Divorce & Family Law Attorneys have years of experience successfully helping clients with issues related to alimony and spousal maintenance. We’ve seen the consequences people can face if they’re forced into agreeing to an unsatisfactory spousal maintenance arrangement. It can lead to them struggling financially for years.

Our experienced divorce attorneys know how to guide clients through the process of securing an alimony agreement that ensures that they are financially stable as they move into the next chapter of their lives.

For more information about spousal maintenance and alimony, or to discuss your situation with our experienced family law attorneys, give us a call at (718) 215-0121 or contact us online today to set up a free and confidential consultation.

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