If you're going through the divorce process and are the higher earner between you and your spouse, you're likely wondering about alimony payments after the divorce is finalized. Here are two questions you may have about alimony that you should know the answer to.
Can Alimony Be Mutually Decided On?
Even if you and your spouse have mutually decided on how much alimony they should receive, that will not be a binding agreement in terms of the law. Many states have formulas that determine how much alimony should be paid based on a variety of factors. This helps ensure that a spouse that earns less money will not be pressured to take a bad deal that could hurt them financially.
Each state has its own factors that they consider when deciding on alimony, but you can expect the formula to consider personal income levels, future earning capability, standard of living, and how long you were married.
What Happens If You Decide To Switch Careers?
A divorce is going to really change your life in more ways than one. You may end up changing where you live or changing careers are a result of the divorce. Unfortunately, this can cause a problem with alimony payments if you are the higher earner. If you willingly decide to make a change in your life that drastically reduces how much money you make, know that your alimony payments may still be based on what you were making before you decided to make the change.
If you were making $150,000 at your old job and decided to quit and take a much less stressful job that pays half as much, your alimony could be based on your old earnings. You would need to find a justification for why you took that lower-paying job.
For example, if your wife has sole custody of the kids and moved to a different state, you may justify the career change by wanting to also move and be closer to your kids. This could be a justification that a judge would listen to. However, if you choose to reduce your working hours because you want to start dating again and have more free time, a judge may not use this reasoning to justify a lower alimony payment based on your lower salary.
Reach out to a family law attorney if you have questions about alimony or other family law issues that you are having difficulty finding the answer to.