How to avoid paying alimony to a cheating spouse

In California, an adulterous spouse isn’t forced to pay alimony due to infidelity. Punitive damages are not awarded on this basis. Instead, alimony is only required based on the financial needs and abilities of the spouses.

Do you have to pay alimony if your spouse cheats?

Depending on your state, adultery can completely bar your spouse from receiving alimony. In other states, however, adultery won’t prevent your spouse from getting alimony. Instead, the infidelity will be one factor among many that a judge considers.

Does adultery matter in California divorce?

California is a No-Fault Divorce State

Usually, infidelity does NOT impact property division (unless the cheating spouse wasted marital assets on the affair), spousal support, or child custody, with limited exceptions.

What is the law on adultery in California?

There are no direct legal consequences of committing adultery in California. In other words, adultery is not punishable by law or as a tort in this state. … While the court will not punish a spouse for adultery in California, cheating spouses will likely suffer personal consequences.

Who pays for a divorce adultery California?

Alimony is the money that one spouse pays to the other spouse both during and after a divorce. California’s legislature believes that the duty of support is so critical that it created a law that requires spouses to provide financial support for each other.

Should you contact the person your spouse is cheating with?

Getting involved in that person’s life by contacting his or her spouse only complicates your situation. … His or her spouse may be fully aware of the affair, and may in fact be having his or her own affair. The last thing you need is more drama. You have enough to deal with.

What makes you eligible for alimony?

In order to be awarded alimony, you must show that your spouse earns significantly more income than you, or that you stayed out of the workforce to take care of the home or children. If you earn more than your husband or your incomes are nearly equal, a judge won’t see any reason to provide you with alimony.

Can text messages be used in court to prove adultery?

Texts that you once thought were private can now be used, and many courts are starting to subpoena text messages to see what is inside of them. … Yes, text messaging is now part of the modern world, but it can easily be used against you to prove that you were committing adultery, or that you have anger issues.

Is spousal support mandatory in California?

For longer marriages, where the parties may be older and their earning potential lower, the time the lower- or non-income earner may require support for much longer. In either case, California law requires the partner receiving support to make a good faith effort to support his or herself.

What is a wife entitled to in a divorce in California?

In California, a wife may be entitled to 50% of marital assets, 40% of her spouse’s income in the form of spousal support, child support, and primary child custody. These entitlements are based on the marriage’s length and each spouse’s income, among other factors.

Can you go to jail for adultery in California?

While California is a no-fault state, and adultery is not punishable by the law, there are still states that consider adultery illegal. Adultery is defined as voluntary sexual intercourse between a married person and a person who is not his or her spouse.

What is considered proof of adultery?

To prove adultery via circumstantial evidence, one must show that the adulterous spouse had both the “disposition” to commit adultery and the “opportunity” to do so. Evidence of “disposition” includes photographs of the adulterous spouse and the other man or woman kissing or engaging in other acts of affection.

Does a cheating spouse get half?

This means they are likely to be awarded one half of the matrimonial assets unless your respective ‘needs’ mean that an unequal split is necessary. In some circumstances, in light of the parties’ respective needs, a cheating spouse will end up with more than half of the assets, at least in the short term.

Can you date while separated in California?

A commonly asked question about legal separation that I hear often is “Can I date while I am legally separated?” Technically the answer is yes because California is a no-fault state. However, if you have children, be advised that dating while legally separated could influence child custody arrangements.

How can I avoid paying alimony in California?

Regardless of how much you might hate paying alimony, you cannot lower or stop payments on your own. You must wait for a judge to order alimony modification or approve your alimony agreement before you can stop paying or else you might face enforcement penalties.

What states is adultery a felony?

In Idaho, Oklahoma, Michigan, and Wisconsin adultery is a felony, while in the other states it is a misdemeanor.

How to avoid paying alimony to a cheating spouse

Of course, the simplest way to avoid taking on another adult as your effective dependent for life is not to marry. However, for those inclined to enter into the legal relationship of marriage, the possibility of alimony will always be lingering in the background.

In every state, when two people marry, they are entering into a legal relationship. This relationship places on each spouse a duty to support each other during the marriage. It also may bring with it a duty to provide continued financial support after the marriage ends.

Whether alimony is paid and, what amount, is governed by state law. As a result, we’ll discuss some general principles that may allow you to get out of paying alimony.

This article will discuss an approach you may take to get out of paying alimony, starting with avoiding it altogether. If that is not a possibility, you may consider the other suggestions set forth herein, which have to do with how to stop paying alimony or at least reduce its amount.

Step 1: Avoid alimony completely

The easiest way to avoid paying alimony at all is not to get married. Without marriage, there is no relationship upon which to place a duty of mutual support. However, in most states, couples can often avoid paying alimony by agreeing that alimony will not be paid. This may be done through a premarital agreement, a postnuptial agreement, or a settlement agreement.

The first potential opportunity to get out of paying alimony is a premarital agreement, which is an agreement made before marriage in which the spouses make decisions about how issues like alimony will be handled if they get divorced later. Premarital agreements are only valid when both spouses make full disclosures to each other about what they own and how much money they make. Every state also places additional requirements on premarital agreements before they are considered valid. For example, common requirements include that premarital agreements must be in writing and must be signed. In addition, the couple must have had an opportunity to consult with an independent attorney before executing the agreement. Also, in most states, the agreement must have been fair at the time it was negotiated. Obviously, this is an issue that a judge must generally determine during a divorce.

If you are already married, you may still have an opportunity to avoid alimony altogether. Many states also recognized postnuptial agreements, which tend to be very similar to premarital agreements. The main difference is that they are executed after the marriage has already taken place.

And finally, if divorce is imminent, you may be able to negotiate not paying alimony in an agreement with your spouse. For example, you may decide to give your spouse a larger percentage of property, such as houses, cars, and bank balances, in exchange for not having to pay alimony. You might also attempt to negotiate a lump sum alimony payment, in which you pay one significant sum to your spouse and then do not pay again. Settlement agreements must be approved by a court before they become effective.

Whether you choose a prenuptial agreement, a postnuptial agreement, or a settlement agreement, it is important that you consult with an experienced family law attorney in your state. These attorneys have deep experience in divorce law and are able to help you negotiate an agreement that will work best at meeting your goals.

Step 2: End alimony you are already paying

If you are already paying alimony, your options are more limited. There are generally two ways you can get out of paying out alimony you have been ordered to pay: (1) meeting conditions in the court’s order or (2) meeting conditions in state law.

The court order requiring you to pay alimony should set forth the circumstances under which alimony will terminate. For example, you may be required to pay alimony only for a set period of time, which is what happens with temporary alimony or rehabilitative alimony. Both are, by their nature, limited to a particular period of time. For that reason, it’s important that you know what the court order says about when alimony terminates. In the case of permanent alimony, for example, it may only terminate when the spouse receiving alimony dies or remarries or when the spouse paying alimony passes away.

If you cannot meet the conditions set forth in the court’s order, you should consult with an attorney about whether you might be able to meet the legal standard for having alimony terminated in your state. In most states, you must show a material change or a substantial change in circumstances. Examples of things that might meet that standard include being laid off or becoming very ill or disabled. One important thing to know is that you cannot intentionally reduce your income to try to get out of paying alimony. If you do, the court has the power to “impute” income to you. This means that you will have to pay alimony based on the amount the judge you should be able to earn even if you do not make that much money. Clearly, this can lead to a significant shortfall in your budget and should be avoided at all costs. You may also be held in contempt of court, which can lead to jail time, and you may have to pay a fine.

Step 3: Reduce the amount of alimony you pay

If you cannot get out of paying alimony entirely, you may be able to reduce the amount of money you pay to your ex-spouse. The legal standard for this is usually that circumstances have changed substantially or materially. For example, perhaps you cannot work as many hours because you have to take ongoing medical treatments. Or maybe your ex-spouse has received a significant promotion, while you were demoted due to no fault of your own. In circumstances like these, a judge may find that the circumstances have changed enough so that you should not have to pay as much alimony.

If you’re looking to get out of paying alimony, your best bet is to hire an experienced family lawyer in your state. These attorneys know how to best frame the issues for the court to get you the best shot at getting out of paying alimony or having the amount reduced.

Courts Can Help You Avoid Paying an Ex-Spouse who Has History of Abuse

More and more women are paying alimony because they make more than their ex-husbands during their marriages. While there isn’t much anyone can do about that, there is one exception to the spousal support rule: When the woman has been a victim of domestic abuse.

“It is the only time that spousal support can be denied when it would otherwise be paid,” says Belinda Rachman, 52-year-old Carlsbad, California based lawyer specializing in divorce mediation. “The one that sticks out most in mind is if you have documented a history of abuse. But the key here is documented.”

Since the courts are sensitive to domestic violence in general, Rachman points to situations where the wife, the only breadwinner in the family, is actually a victim of abuse. In this case, spousal support isn’t black and white. Even though she is bringing home the paycheck, she can use that as a leg to stand on legally when spousal support is decided when the marriage ends.

“The richer person would normally have to pay the poorer person support. But if you can prove he is a bum — and that means there has to be a documented history of abuse: police coming to the house, doctor’s reports, “you know, a real paper trail of proof — then it could result in the judge not ordering support,” she says.

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Courts Frown on Spouses who Quit Jobs to Avoid Paying Support

Apparently, even though the courts are onto this, marital lawyers say plenty of soon-to-be-ex-spouses try to end-run the alimony systems by quitting their jobs.

I would say it is not uncommon. People often feel very resentful when they are ordered to pay alimony and think that by doing this they are saving themselves money,” said Brette McWhorter Sember, 39, in an e-mail interview. The former lawyer based in Clarence, N.Y., is the author of several books including “How to Parent with Your Ex” (Sourcebooks).

“In my experience judges are very cranky with people who don’t pay alimony or child support. They understand that you can be temporarily out of work, but do not accept the excuse that you can’t find anything, even a job washing dishes,” she said.

Belinda Rachman agrees, adding that even if you are out of work, you might still be forced to pay. If somebody has a job and they take themselves out of the financial game, the court does not look kindly on that. You want to play games with the court?” said Rachman, a 52-year-old Carlsbad, Calif.-based lawyer specializing in divorce mediation.

You think it will lower significantly the amount of money that would be paid, but the judge can set it not to what you are making but what you are capable of making. “And people can find all kinds of ways to end their employment, such as faking an injury, creating bogus excuses why they can’t work and even quitting outright. And people can create situations so they are fired,” Sember added.

“But if you suspect that the spouse you are divorcing might be pulling a fast one, there are some things you can do. But it all comes down to proving it. If you have a suspicion that someone is malingering, which is what it is called or faking an injury, or someone is pretending to be sick so they don’t work, you have to prove it,” Rachman said. “You can ask for an independent evaluation, but I caution you, pain sometimes cannot be proven. It’s really hard to prove pain, and when it comes right down to it, it’s always about what can you prove.”

“You can call in a third party to ask for an evaluation, someone qualified who can come in and do a physical or mental, evaluation, or both,” said Lynne Gold-Bikin, 65, family law chair at WolfBlock LLP in Morristown, Penn. “There are people who claim they can’t work because drug or alcohol addicted. There are things you can do about that, such as go to AA, go into rehab. Just because you have a physical injury, does that disable you from do all kinds of work? You might not be able to do construction work, but can you still talk on the phone?”

Dealing with issues of support is one area that all litigators are frustrated about, since it usually is the arena where the most games are played. This is the most frustrating part of being a lawyer being involved in the court system. “It is not about truth or justice, it’s all about what you can prove according to rules of evidence,” Rachman added. “Unfortunately, I saw way too many cases, under penalty of perjury, where people lie about their assets and what they earn.”

Rachman is not alone. “I have a client who’s ex-husband has been cheating on his taxes for years. We have all the documentation to prove this. But when it comes to paying support to her, he said he would rather go to IRS and tell them everything then pay her,” Gold-Bilkin. “There are men who will do this. They are angry and their opinion is ‘that bitch isn’t going to get anything.’”

“I have seen horrible injustices within our court system which is why I walked away,” Rachman said, adding that she is now a mediator, working to resolve post-marital disputes between the two parties so the courts don’t have to be directly involved.

The other problem that adds to the frustration is that even though support can be put in place there is no real recourse for not paying alimony, according to Rachman. “They can still order support from somebody that hasn’t the ability to pay it. The court can serve an order on your employer to garnish wages if need be,” Rachman said. “But if you don’t pay, it’s not like they throw you in jail. They can take your driver’s license away and attach your tax returns.”

“But the judges aren’t stupid. There was a famous case in Pennsylvania, where the husband said, ‘I don’t have the capacity to pay. I don’t have anything. You can’t put me in jail for that.’ But what the judge did was order him to go out and find all the job opportunities he could find. ‘You’ve got three weeks.’ If he didn’t do it, then he can be put in jail for violating a court order,” added Gold-Bikin.

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How to avoid paying alimony to a cheating spouse

It is a scenario that plays out over and over again in divorce courts everywhere.

You took care of the home during your marriage while your spouse made the money. When it became clear you were heading for divorce, you discussed your case with a lawyer, who told you that you had a “classic” alimony case.

Then out of the blue, your spouse lost his job. Now, your spouse’s position is that alimony is not appropriate because the money is not there.

If this has happened to you then take action immediately. While most State laws will put a burden on you to prove that your spouse is voluntarily unemployed, the divorce courts provide you with all the tools you need to succeed.

Below are the four steps you must take when your spouse quits his job during divorce.

Pull Your Spouse’s Tax Returns to See Total Income Earned When Working

If you and your spouse filed jointly, then you can pull your tax returns yourself in less than 15 minutes.

Simply google “Pull Tax Transcript”, and click on the IRS website.

You will be prompted to create a username and password on the IRS website, and you will be asked private questions to confirm your identity.

Once complete, you can simply download a PDF of your Record of Account transcript, which will provide all of the information you will need.

If your spouse filed separately, then your attorney will have two options to get the tax returns from your spouse. Preferably, your spouse will simply comply and turn over a copy of the requested returns. If your spouse is being difficult however then it will be easier to have the Court force the Husband to execute an IRS Form 4056-T and go directly to the IRS to pull the statement.

Gather Your Spouse’s Previous Employment Records with a Subpoena

Now that you know exactly what your spouses reported income, you want to dig further into the employment file.

You will be looking for additional income and benefits as well as nature and reasons that your spouse is currently unemployed.

Your attorney can get this information by sending a simple subpoena to your spouses’ former employer requesting his file.

Because unemployment compensation is a real issue for businesses big and small, employers usually thoroughly document the details surrounding an employee’s’ exit.

You are looking for records that show your spouse either left his or her job voluntarily or that the poor performance by your spouse that led to termination coincided with the divorce.

Frequently, the employment file provides slam dunk evidence when a spouse leaves a job to tactically help his or her divorce case.

Gather Your Spouse’s Medical Records

Is your spouse claiming an inability to work for health reasons?

While this is a common tactic in alimony and child support cases, you can swiftly and quickly debunk this claim by requesting authorization for release of medical records.

Simply, you will ask your spouse to sign a document allowing your attorney to pull any and all medical records related to his or her ability to work.

And if your spouse refuses to sign this document, your attorney can ask the Judge to force the signing of the release.

A common tactic to increase leverage is for a spouse to feign ill health and the inability to work. By pulling health records immediately, you can disarm this tactic before you enter settlement negotiations.

Find Job Opportunities and Your Spouses Potential Income

Now that you have gathered your spouse’s’ employment and health records, you need to show the Court the jobs in the community and earning potential available to your spouse.

And while you can certainly gather this evidence yourself, when possible you should hire a vocational expert in your community to prepare an occupation report.

These reports typically do three things:

  • First, the expert takes the employment and health records that you and your attorney have gathered and delivers an opinion on your spouse’s ability to work and whether unemployment is voluntary. The best experts are qualified to discuss medical records when giving their opinion. Judges tend to lean heavily on expert opinions in family law.
  • Second, the expert finds job openings for your spouse. The expert searches your town and neighboring towns for actual job leads, and then calls the job leads and verifies that your spouse is a fit.
  • Finally, the expert draws a conclusion as to the amount of money your spouse is capable of earning in a given year.

These expert reports can be very difficult for your spouse to defend.

Conclusion

A voluntarily unemployed spouse can seriously damage the value of your case unless you take action. While it will require work, you have the tools needed to cut through the gamesmanship and get a fair resolution in your case.

About the Author

April is a paralegal and legal investigator. She owns her own business and contracts with local attorneys in the Seattle, Washington area. April has a special interest in family law, working one on one with clients who need to go through the divorce without an attorney, and advising women when they find themselves back in court over a dispute with their ex. April is also recently divorced after a 12-year marriage. She is the mother of an adorable 6-year-old daughter and 3 French Bulldogs. Her. Read More

Comments

I can’t afford to pay for the mortgage, should I call them and let them know he left me.and should I get a legal separation form?

less than a week after my spouse, and I filed for divorce, my spouse who is the breadwinner got fired from their job for bad behavior. -being drunk in front of customers. Taking a new job that pays less, do you think there’s a cast to impute their previous salary or will they use their new salary for alimony, and support?

Spousal support is generally awarded to a spouse who has been out of work during the marriage or makes a lower income and needs the support of the other husband even after the divorce. … Alimony payments can also be modified depending on the ability to pay.

Similarly, what determines if you get alimony?

Below are some of the factors a judge will examine:

If alimony can make it possible for the receiving party to maintain a lifestyle that is close to what the couple had during the marriage. The length of the marriage. The age and health of each spouse. The earning capacity of each spouse.

Consequently, why do I deserve spousal support?

If a spouse’s standard of living was high during the marriage, then the court will likely award alimony to help keep that spouse in that standard of living after the divorce. When the court considers future earning potential, it looks at the parties’ job experience, current employment situation, and education.

Is alimony paid for life?

Well, we’re here to tell you this is not the case. California state law dictates that spousal support is not permanent! In fact, depending on circumstance it might only last a few years. In other cases, it can last for decades; but often the amount paid can be reduced significantly.

10 Related Question Answers Found

Can my wife take everything in a divorce?

She can‘t take everything from you, but only her share of community property that is acquired during marriage. Your separate property won’t go to her unless in some specific cases like family businesses.

How long can a wife get alimony?

The court will determine how long you or the other party will receive alimony. If you have been married for 20 years or longer, there is no limit to how long you can receive alimony. However, if you were married for less than 20 years, you cannot collect alimony for more than 50% of the length of the marriage.

Do I have to pay alimony if my spouse refuses to work?

A judge may order you to pay spousal support for a set period of time, to give your spouse time to get back to work. … If your spouse is capable of work but refuses to get a job, that is no longer your problem once you have fulfilled your court obligations for paying support.

How do I divorce my wife and keep everything?

How To Keep Your Stuff Through Divorce

  1. Disclose every asset. One of the most important things you can do seems, at first, counter-intuitive. …
  2. Disclose offsetting debts. Likewise, it is important to disclose every debt, especially debts secured by marital assets. …
  3. Keep your documents. …
  4. Be prepared to negotiate.

Do cheaters get alimony?

Cheating does not affect spousal support awards in California. In this state, a dependent spouse can have a one night stand or a full-blown affair and it will not reduce or eliminate their ability to receive alimony.

Do you lose alimony if you get a job?

In a nutshell, as soon as you begin earning income, your ex-spouse can file a motion with a court and argue that you no longer need his alimony checks. … Depending on how much you earn at your new job, a judge may agree with this argument, and you could lose all or some of your alimony.

Is spousal support and alimony the same?

Alimony, also called spousal support or spousal maintenance, is the payment of money by one spouse to the other after separation or divorce. Its purpose is to help the lower-earning spouse cover expenses and maintain the same standard of living after divorce.

Can you be denied alimony?

Here are some cases in which California spousal support may be denied: The spouse is able to earn a sufficient income to maintain the standard of living enjoyed during the marriage. The lower-income spouse has separate property or assets that are enough to provide support. … The lower-income spouse was abusive.

How do I protect myself from paying alimony?

9 Expert Tactics to Avoid Paying Alimony (Recommended)

  1. Strategy 1: Avoid Paying It In the First Place. …
  2. Strategy 2: Prove Your Spouse Was Adulterous. …
  3. Strategy 3: Change Up Your Lifestyle. …
  4. Strategy 4: End the Marriage ASAP. …
  5. Strategy 5: Keep Tabs on Your Spouse’s Relationship. …
  6. Strategy 6: Have A Judge Evaluate Your Spouse’s Fitness to Work. …
  7. Strategy 7: Prove They Don’t Need It.

What is reasonable spousal maintenance?

The guideline states that the paying spouse’s support be presumptively 40% of his or her net monthly income, reduced by one-half of the receiving spouse’s net monthly income. If child support is an issue, spousal support is calculated after child support is calculated.

How to avoid paying alimony to a cheating spouse

Alimony, or as it is called in some states, spousal maintenance, is a payment of money from one spouse to the other spouse either during the divorce process or ordered to begin after the divorce is finalized. During a divorce, spouses look for any way they can to avoid spending or losing their money, including trying to avoid having to pay alimony to their ex. Many of the strategies that individuals can use to avoid alimony directly relate to how the courts in their state award alimony. Individuals should study up on the alimony guidelines for their particular state and use the help of a local divorce attorney to help find any loopholes that may allow them to get out of having to make alimony payments.

Best Tips to Avoiding Alimony

There are a number of ways that an individual can avoid having to pay alimony, either by pre-planning, doing so during the divorce, or even after the divorce. Here are some of those tactics

  • Prenuptial Agreement: This is something that couples do before they are married to help eliminate the possibility of alimony payments if they divorce. A prenuptial agreement is a legal agreement between the couple outlining what will take place as far as the division of property is concerned should they divorce. Individuals will usually seek a prenuptial agreement when one spouse makes or has significantly more money than the other as a means to protect their assets during divorce. Other reasons for having a prenuptial agreement entered is to avoid having to pay alimony to the other spouse.
  • Proof of Infidelity: Depending on which state you reside in, infidelity may be a reason for the denial of alimony. In these states, if infidelity on the behalf of one of the partners is proven, it can help to take alimony for that spouse off the table. Keep in mind, however, you will need to prove the infidelity happened to the court’s satisfaction through different types of evidence. Proving infidelity is no easy task, as you will need actual proof, such as multiple witnesses, photographs, video, or other incriminating evidence.
  • Get Out Early: The amount of alimony one will have to pay is often determined in part by how long the couple has been together. Should the marriage seem unhappy early on, you may want to consider ending it sooner rather than later – the longer you are married, the more in alimony you will have to pay should the relationship end in a divorce. States, such as Illinois, even have a set formula to determine the length of alimony payments based off a percentage of the length of the marriage.
  • Downsize Your Lifestyle: The court will also take each spouse’s financial situation, lifestyle, and income into consideration when making a decision about alimony. Because of this, it is obvious that the spouse who is making less income and living on a smaller scale will generally not have to pay alimony. Another way to avoid paying alimony is to work to downsize your lifestyle – some spouses have even quit their jobs and claimed bankruptcy to avoid paying alimony. Keep in mind though, that intentionally becoming unemployed will get you in serious trouble with the court as the judge will consider this the hiding of assets. Also, bankruptcy does not eliminate alimony or other family court obligations such as child support, but if you have a lot of debt, it can help to show the judge that you cannot afford to pay alimony.

Unfortunately, even though you may do all you can to avoid paying alimony, a divorce judge may still order one spouse to make alimony payments to the other. When this happens, the question always becomes, how exactly will the court determine the awarding of alimony to the other spouse?

How Will the Court Determine Alimony?

Whereas child support is more of a formula in terms of how much money will be awarded, alimony is normally at the discretion of the court (there are some states, however, that do offer general guidelines to determine this amount). That being the case, working out the details of the payments prior to going to court would benefit both parties. The person receiving the support is supposed to be assured of an amount that is acceptable to meet his or her needs. The court also strives to find an amount that the payor can actually afford to pay to his ex-spouse.

Determining Alimony

In states where spousal support or alimony is awarded, the courts must determine which party is entitled to the spousal support as well as the other party’s ability to actually pay. While there are certainly cases where one spouse receives support for an indefinite period, this support is meant only as a temporary source of income to help one spouse maintain his or her quality of life immediately after the divorce.

Something else to consider that is separate from “standard” determining factors is the actual earning capacity of both parties. If you are not earning what you could be, the judge may consider this when making the award. This is something that is taken into account for both parties. If one party has a degree and simply chooses not to work, alimony may not be quite as high as expected. On the flip side, if a doctor suddenly decides to work at McDonald’s, he or she is hardly earning what he or she is capable of and the alimony award will be based on the potential, not the actual current earnings.

Other factors that will determine alimony awards:

  • Age and health of each spouse
  • Quality of living during the marriage
  • Current income of each spouse
  • Length of the marriage
  • Children
  • If one spouse is not working, can he or she enter the workforce now or will he or she need education or training
  • Future asset potential (for instance, if one spouse has a guaranteed stock option bonus in place at his or her existing job)
  • Did one spouse financially support the other spouse’s education or training for his or her current employment (an example would be if husband went to school while the wife worked to support him – once his education has been completed, the wife then stays home to take care of the kids and he starts his career)
  • Property division of marital assets

What’s The Next Step to Understanding Alimony?

Fighting an award of alimony is nothing short of a knock down drag out battle, but when approached the proper way, can be possible. Understanding how alimony works in each particular state is the first step to deciding how the facts of your case will shake out. The next step is figuring out how much legal advice you actually need. We can help by connecting you at no cost to a local divorce attorney that can provide you with a consultation!

These destructive and unnecessary maneuvers can lead to separation.

THE BASICS

  • The Challenges of Divorce
  • Find a therapist to heal from a divorce

As a couples therapist, I’ve had the distinct displeasure of witnessing the divorce process up close. And as many of you know, it ain’t pretty.

I realize there’s a place for a hard-fought war between separating spouses. I also know that steps need to be taken to neutralize an abusive mate. But abuse notwithstanding, some of the tactics I’ve seen over the years are unnecessarily destructive, especially when children are involved.

Here are seventeen distasteful and oftentimes provoking maneuvers employed by both men and women during the divorce process:

  1. Rejecting or delaying a raise at work in order to reduce (or avoid paying) alimony or child support payments: Some people quit their jobs rather than pay their partners any money.
  2. Hiding assets or money from your spouse: You see this one a lot with people who have their own businesses—particularly cash businesses.
  3. While plotting a divorce, you steal money from your partner and hide it in a separate account: One woman I treated hid stacks of cash that she had been skimming from her husband’s trucking business.
  4. Raiding the safe deposit box: Who wins the race to the family jewelry?
  5. Using the legal system to bankrupt your mate: The judicial system needs to do a better job setting limits with these obnoxious characters.
  6. Allowing your attorney to needlessly slander your spouse: Some lawyers can get out of control and it’s your job to stop them.
  7. Agreeing to an amicable divorce and in turn, hiring the meanest lawyer around: Don’t you love those spouses who say “everything is going to go smoothly,” and then proceed to bring a bazooka to a knife fight?
  8. Teaming up with your lover to plot a divorce from your spouse: There’s nothing like actively enlisting someone to help you destroy your own family.
  9. Telling your children that your marriage is over before informing your spouse: This maneuver can place a great burden on your kids.
  10. Forcing your children to accept your lover (or any new partner) before they’ve had time to emotionally process the divorce: This one is especially self-serving.
  11. Consistently ridiculing your estranged spouse in front of your children: Creating loyalty conflicts won’t serve your children well.
  12. Making up slanderous stories about your partner in an attempt to alienate him or her from your mutual friends: Friends don’t usually appreciate being manipulated.
  13. Dumping your partner when he or she is at a low point emotionally (lost job, hospitalized): Some people like to make a statement.
  14. Dumping your partner during a time of celebration (anniversary, giving birth): Some partners insist on sadistically stealing your joy. your spouse for his or her best friend: Oftentimes people seem more upset by the friend’s betrayal.
  15. Destroying your partner’s property during the divorce process: Cars and clothes are often victimized, but the particularly nasty types usually destroy something they know their partner will miss.
  16. Locking you partner out of the family house even though he/she isn’t a threat to you: If no abuse is involved, this is usually a needless power maneuver to escalate the divorce battle.

Forgive me if I’ve missed a few dirty deeds but I’ve simply run out of ideas—I’m also getting nauseous. No doubt the legal divorce process is adversarial and fosters this style of play, but couples are often enablers who take their relationship dynamics into the divorce process and replicate their misery. Divorce Mediation and Collaborative Divorce can help, but most couples don’t get along well enough to take advantage of these alternate routes.

So, if you’re taking the “road most often traveled” to divorce, hopefully both you and your partner will exhibit grace under pressure. But just in case… don’t forget your checkbook.