Working Out Alimony: A Woman’s Guide

Alimony has the potential to make you feel great about your finances or make you wish you had fought harder for more after your divorce. How is alimony arranged? What can you do to get as much alimony as you need? Here are a few things to think about.

1. Calculate your needs first

The first thing you should know is the absolute bottom line of what you need to get by in your daily life. If you only earn $900 a month now and need $1,600 a month to have an apartment, buy food and take care of utilities, then you should negotiate for that additional $700 a month at minimum. Be as accurate as possible when you create this budget, so your spouse doesn’t have the ability to say you’re asking too much.

2. Consider how much your spouse can pay

While it’s easy to say “I need $700 a month,” it’s equally easy for your spouse to state that he doesn’t have that much to spare. You must calculate how much you need while also considering how much your spouse actually makes. For example, if your spouse earns $5,000 a month and has $2,000 in expenses, your $700 request is more than reasonable. However, if your spouse earns $2,800 and has $2,000 in base expenses, it may not be as reasonable.

3. See if the law calculates alimony for you

Your attorney may know if the laws in the state already create a formula for alimony. If there are alimony guidelines, it’s a good idea to know what they are so you know what to expect if you head to court.

4. Remember that alimony affects your taxes

When you accept alimony, your income increases. While there are ways to reduce your tax liability in some cases, it’s a good idea to remember that your alimony is taxed like income. Remember that when you ask for alimony, so you calculate in the amount you have to save for tax purposes.

5. Think about how long you need alimony

Finally, think about how long you need to get back on your feet. If you need th ree years for schooling, don’t agree to alimony that ends in six months. Likewise, if you only need six months, the court and your spouse is unlikely to agree to three years of alimony payments. Be realistic.

Your attorney can help you decide on the best negotiating tactics for getting the alimony you deserve.

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