Avoiding Mistakes When Determining Spousal Maintenance

 Posted on August 13, 2018 in Alimony / Maintenance

Avoiding Mistakes When Determining Spousal MaintenanceThough spousal maintenance is not a requirement in a divorce agreement, one party will likely pay it if the other spouse was financially dependent during the marriage. Spouses can either reach their own spousal maintenance agreement or allow the divorce court to set the terms of the maintenance payments. If you are the spouse who is likely to pay maintenance, it may be more advantageous for you to negotiate your own terms. However, it is important to understand your options and their consequences when creating the agreement. A poor choice can put you at a long-term financial disadvantage:

  1. Short-Term Payments Can Be Costlier: A spousal maintenance obligation is often spread out into monthly payments made for several years. Alternatively, the obligated spouse can make a few high-level payments or one lump-sum payment. The one-time payment may seem attractive to you because it may be less money than the total you would pay with a long-term plan. There is also the satisfaction of severing your financial ties with your former spouse. However, large payments work only if you have the money or assets to spare. You also risk overpaying for maintenance if your former spouse remarries in the near future. If you have a long-term payment plan, the payments will end upon your spouse's remarriage.
  2. Your Former Spouse Does Not Need to Remarry to End the Maintenance Agreement: Entering a new marriage is a clear example of when a dependent former spouse no longer needs spousal maintenance payments because he or she now has a new financial provider. However, cohabitation without marriage can provide financial support to a dependent former spouse. Your spousal maintenance payments should not be supporting your former spouse’s new roommate or romantic interest. To prevent this from happening, you can include a section in your maintenance agreement that allows you to terminate or alter the payments if your former spouse begins living with another adult.
  3. Spending or Hiding Assets Does Not Prevent Maintenance: Some divorcees mistakenly believe that they can reduce or eliminate their spousal maintenance payments by spending their savings or hiding their individual assets. Your income will largely determine what you owe in maintenance. Excessive expenditures will deplete the overall assets you can use to pay the maintenance, not the payments themselves. The court can penalize you if it catches you attempting to deceive your spouse by hiding your assets or income.

Calculating Spousal Maintenance

There are several factors that can determine the amount and duration of spousal maintenance, including how long you were married and your former spouse’s efforts to become self-supporting. A Kane County divorce attorney at Goostree Law Group can help you negotiate a fair spousal maintenance agreement. Schedule a free consultation by calling 630-584-4800.



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