About Sally J. Boyle
Sally Boyle is committed to helping you have a smarter divorce. A member of the Institute For Divorce Financial Analysis, she supports collaborative law that encourages cooperation.
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Spousal support or alimony can be both the most contentious and complicated discussion in a divorce negotiation.
One spouse may need it, but the other spouse does not want to pay it. It's also a long-term commitment and connection--both being things that a divorce is trying to end. But in most long-term marriages, spousal support is a financial right. So, how can you develop a strategy in asking for your alimony?
Know the Rules of the Game
One thing that's not obvious to a layperson is that the rules around spousal support calculations are state-specific.
Some states have a set percentage. Some other states relate payments to the length of the marriage and duration of the payment. And there are states which do not allow spousal support at all. Instead, they designate funds to be paid for a limited time for specifically prescribed purposes. The starting point is understanding the framework of how spousal support is calculated in your area.
Next, factor in the 2017 tax reform that eliminated the tax deductibility of alimony, and made alimony tax-free to the recipient. The effect has been a reduction in the amount or the percentages paid in most jurisdictions.
Make Sure You Consider All Income Sources
It's critical to focus on all income sources. This is where a CDFA can be of help. We are used to asking and locating all income sources. Be aware of your date of separation, as this date is often the line of demarcation for dividing both marital assets and income.
Some of the most common income categories are:
Begin the Calculation Process
Here, it's important to review both income and expenses, to identify and correct any unusual patterns, and begin to consider the possibilities.
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