Divorce can be a complicated process both legally, financially, and emotionally. For this to go as smoothly as possible, it's important to be organized, understand your state's laws, and work with an attorney who you feel comfortable with.
Alimony, otherwise known as spousal support, is determined in court after a couple has filed for divorce. Alimony is based upon both partners' incomes and may be awarded on a permanent or temporary basis to one partner based on the court ruling. A signed prenuptial agreement may impact the alimony payment or even prevent alimony from being awarded to one partner depending on specific terms.
Financial Shifts and Alimony
Retirement and even early retirement can also impact alimony and be grounds to halt payments as long as the court is notified. Although a raise at work will not necessarily impact your alimony payments in some states, earning less money can impact how much spousal support is owed. Laws will vary based on state, so it's always best to speak with your lawyer if your income has changed and you are paying spousal support.
During the filing process, you and your spouse will need to figure out how to divide assets and document it prior to submitting it with your divorce papers. If you are having difficulty agreeing on a fair division, you may want to consider mediation or settling in court. If signed, a prenuptial agreement can also impact who gets what in the divorce regardless of whether the division seems fair.
Doing What's Best for Your Child
If you and your spouse have a child or children, regardless of age, going through a divorce can be challenging for them to process. If they are under 18 years old, determining custody will be an aspect of the divorce process. If custody is not determined by the parents, then a mediator or court hearing may be required to settle legal and physical custody. If the child or children live primarily with one parent, the non-custodial parent may be ordered to pay child support on a schedule determined by the family court ruling.
Processing Your Divorce
The divorce process can vary in how long it takes to finalize. Be sure you practice good self care throughout this experience as going through this can take an emotional toll on you. Keep in mind that this process won't go on forever and if you have shared children, it's important to prioritize their wellbeing.