Many fathers and husbands take pride in providing for their family, so they have been the primary wage earner in their marriage. It is still more common for a mother to stay at home with the children than a father, which means many dads have the opportunity to advance in their careers and increase their income over time. When parents divorce, this means that the father is more likely to pay alimony to his spouse.
If the child custody order also grants the mother primary custody of the child, the father will likely need to pay some amount of child support in addition to his regular alimony payments. This can be a financial burden on many men in New Jersey who are going through or have recently finalized a divorce. The following are a few tips you may be able to use to avoid the same fate.
Alimony Options for Dads
When it comes to alimony, also known as spousal maintenance payments, you do have options to avoid being required to pay up monthly. If you are able to come to an agreement with your spouse outside of court, you may choose a different arrangement that acknowledges the differences in income without forcing you to pay your ex every month. For example, the way you divide your property may encourage your spouse to decline alimony. Or, you may choose to make a larger one time payment from your pre-marital assets or retirement accounts so that your spouse has money to support herself as she reenters the workforce. You may also agree to temporary alimony payments just until your spouse gets back on her feet.
How Child Support Payments Work
If you go to court over child custody and child support, there won’t be much you can do to convince the judge that you shouldn’t have to pay. This is especially the case if you don’t have primary custody of your child and you make more money than your co-parent. However, some men and their co-parents have chosen to create an informal custody agreement. In many cases, they also agree not to seek child support. You are more than welcome to decide your custody arrangement and the ways in which you will both financially support your child without leaving these decisions up to a judge. Therefore, the biggest tip I recommend to fathers who do not want to pay expensive child support every month is to try to work things out with your spouse outside of court.
Assuming you both have some source of income (which is necessary anyway after a divorce), it may be easier for you to divide common expenses based on different categories, or to decide that one parent will pay a certain percentage of each expense. For example, you may have great health insurance through your work. In exchange for your monthly payment towards health insurance and your payment of any co-pays, your ex may agree to cover your child’s clothing expenses and new school supplies every year. There are really endless options as long as both parents are willing to cooperate and have an open mind.