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How Do Newly Divorced Individuals Determine Alimony and Child Support

Unfortunately, divorce has become a reality that touches almost every family in one way or another. And when they happen, divorces can have a profound impact on a person’s finances.

In her article, Ten Reasons Not to Get a Divorce,  author  Sharilee Swaity says, “The longer a couple stays married, the more time they have had to build up assets. You often see couples who have been together for a long time with a great deal of financial stability. Staying together often allows couples to accumulate assets and a good reputation, as both of them work together for the good of their household. Divorce disrupts this building process and forces both members of the couple to start from scratch.

Divorce is expensive in so many ways. There are the actual legal costs of obtaining a divorce judgment. If there are children involved, custody must be decided. If there are assets, they must be divided. All of these things usually involve billable legal fees.”

In some cases, the spouse who is doing better financially may have to make alimony payments to the other spouse, and there are a variety of ways to determine the amount of those payments.

Prenuptial Agreements May Determine Alimony

If a couple has a prenuptial agreement, it will determine how much either side has to pay to the other and for how long. It may stipulate that payments are based on how long the couple is together or based on other relevant benchmarks.

Those who wish to enter into a prenuptial agreement should have it reviewed by an attorney to ensure its validity.

Both Sides May Voluntarily Agree to Waive Alimony

In some cases, both parties to a marriage agree to simply part ways with no obligation to pay the other any money. This may be done because neither person has an economic advantage over the other when the marriage ends. It may also be done because neither side wants to look like they were in the marriage for money. Conversely, both parties may have significant assets to draw from while on their own.

When Children are Involved the State May Mandate the Split

The lawyers at Kelm & Reuter, P.A., say that “In Minnesota, child support is determined using a formula in the state guidelines. Factors such as gross income and expenses such as day care and health care costs are entered into the formula. The guideline also accounts for how much time a child spends with a parent. The more time a parent spends with a child, the greater the adjustment to the child support levels.”

Both Sides May Agree to Split Debts and Responsibilities

When a couple divorces amicably, both parties to the marriage may agree to simply split joint debts or split the cost of raising their children. Therefore, there may be no need to come to a formal agreement assuming both parties act in good faith once the divorce is finalized.

A Judge May Create an Alimony Order

When neither side can come up with an alimony agreement on their own, a judge may have to create an order based on state law. The judge will look at the potential for both sides to find work, how childcare expenses will be split and other relevant factors prior to making a ruling. Once an order is entered, it cannot be changed or modified with the blessing of the court.

While no one wants to go through a divorce, there are situations when it could be in the best interests of all involved. Anyone who is interested in pursuing alimony as part of a divorce settlement may wish to talk with their attorney. Legal counsel may be able to help create an effective argument based on state law and the facts in the case.

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