Based on the circumstances of a divorce, even a spouse who is an "injured party" may be required to pay alimony. If you are concerned about potentially financially-crippling alimony payments or unfair distributions of assets, meet with a divorce lawyer long before any official legal proceedings begin. This way, you could avoid suffering excessive, undue financial burdens after the marriage dissolves.
Seek Counsel Early to Avoid Difficulties
Generally, spouses do not meet with a family law attorney until a marriage is past the point of reconciliation. At this time, legal issues you are unaware of are revealed. A better plan, as difficult as it may be, is to set up a meeting with an attorney the minute your marriage shows early signs of jeopardy. This way, you are better prepared to address the financial aspects of a divorce.
Two illustrative examples of unexpected legal issues to deal with include where you live and how much you earn.
Moving to a State with Stricter Laws
When you are suffering from marriage troubles, unnecessary moves are ill-advised. You may find yourself in a state with very narrow and strict divorce laws. In New Jersey, for example, retirement accounts and even employer pensions could be deemed joint assets under equitable distribution laws. If you move from one state to New Jersey, get divorced, and then move to another state, you still might a significant portion of a pension to an ex-spouse.
Moving from state to state comes with many considerations when you are married. If you marriage is having major troubles, meet with an attorney to discuss any potential legal ramifications. You might even be referred to an attorney who practices in the state in question.
Reducing Discretionary Earning
Different states calculate alimony awards differently, but the amount awarded is going to be based of gross or net income. Ultimately, how much you earn factors into how much alimony a spouse receives. When it becomes obvious a marriage is having problems, it might be best to discuss a reduction in discretionary income with a divorce attorney.
A "workaholic" might earn an additional $10,000 a year for no reason other than to live a more comfortable lifestyle. If this describes you, be aware that income will be factored into decisions regarding alimony judgments.
Making a conscious decision to cut annual income, however, is not something to be done lightly. Nor is doing so a guarantee previous years' income statements will not factor into the alimony award. This is why discussing such decisions with an attorney is a must.
Divorce Law Entails Financial Advice
Financial disputes factor significantly in divorce cases. Do not allow yourself to be overwhelmed by claims for alimony and equitable distribution. Meet with a lawyer early so you know your options. To learn more, contact a professional like Caplin Susan M with any questions you have.Share