No one wants to pay alimony, but it can be a reality for many people going through a divorce. Alimony payments can be costly and add up over time. In this post we’ll discuss how establishing and maintaining your own income stream during marriage can help you avoid paying alimony in your divorce, and you’ll be on your way to keeping more of your hard earned money.
Don’t Give Up Your Income
It’s always a good idea for both partners to have a job and start building their own income stream before they get married. Of course, most of us have to work before getting into a serious relationship, but some people may quit working if their significant other can support them. This isn’t recommended for either partner, but for different reasons. It can be dangerous for the non-earning partner if they feel stuck in the marriage because they don’t have their own income. For the high earner, if things end up adverse and you’re getting divorced, alimony and your future will be much less stable and much less secure. If you’ve both been working and have an income stream or have social security deposits, alimony won’t necessarily be on the table.
Family Court Won’t Undo Poor Decisions
I primarily see traditional families in divorces, and by this I mean that one spouse earns a fair amount more than the other. The biggest contributor to their alimony is often the fact they had their spouse stop working because they were raising children, or because they didn’t want their spouse in the workforce, or because they had the mentality that their wife shouldn’t have to work – whatever it may be. They often regret that choice five, ten, or 20 years later when they’re getting divorced and they’re facing a potentially open duration or permanent alimony award. And clients will tell me all the time, “I wanted her to work, but I just didn’t push it.” Unfortunately, the family court can’t undo bad decisions. If you elected to have your spouse not work and stay at home, even if you didn’t like it, or even if you urged them to go back to work, you still acquiesced to that choice by remaining married after they quit their job. Not only will you increase your alimony exposure in this case, but you increase the difficulty in getting divorced and determining that alimony in the first place because now you have to determine what their imputed income is if any. You might need to have experts talk about employability, and your legal fees and your professional fees will skyrocket only to determine how much you should pay in alimony, which is just another payment. So the burden is astronomical.
I always tell people while they’re planning for marriage, or if they’re talking about a prenup or getting engaged, the worst thing you can do from an alimony standpoint is to have a spouse not working, especially after the kids are grown and in school and there’s no reason that they couldn’t go back to work. Also, my personal opinion is unless you are abundantly wealthy or you don’t have children or you don’t really care, having two incomes in the house is much better. It just overall makes your life a little easier and makes your divorce a little simpler.
Lastly, when you have one house with one income, and after a divorce that becomes two houses with the same income, so there will be a substantial change to both of your lives. Now everybody likes to talk about alimony and uh, comparable lifestyle standard, but comparable doesn’t mean equal or identical, it just means similar. And no situation is similar. When one house with one income becomes two houses with the same one income, it just doesn’t happen.
If you have questions about alimony or would like to create a prenuptial agreement, which I always recommend to clients who are worried about having to pay alimony in the event of a divorce, please contact our office for a consultation. The Micklin Law Group’s attorneys focus on men and fathers who are going through a divorce. Husbands are often more worried about having to pay alimony than their wives; this is likely because men have traditionally been the ones to pay alimony. However, times have changed, and there are many completely lawful things we can do to help you avoid paying alimony. You can call our office at 973-562-0100.