What is Spousal Support?
Divorce can be a complex and emotional process for both parties involved. Spousal support, also known as alimony, is one of the most contentious issues during divorce proceedings.
Spousal support is a form of financial support that courts may order one party to pay the other spouse after a divorce, intended to help the receiving spouse maintain a certain standard of living after separation.
However, paying spousal support can be a significant financial burden for the paying spouse. Barnds Law LLC can show you the steps to take to prevent owing alimony to your former spouse.
8 Ways to Avoid Owing Spousal Support
It can be frustrating to receive orders to pay money to support someone who doesn’t need it. Legal battles over personal matters like shared finances and details of your relationship can get very emotionally charged. There are several ways to protect your rights and help the court identify false claims.
1. Hire a Skilled Divorce Attorney
If you are facing the prospect of paying spousal support, hiring a skilled divorce attorney is essential. An experienced attorney can help you to understand your rights and obligations under the law. They can also help you to negotiate a fair settlement and, if necessary, represent you in court. Barnds Law LLC can help you build a strong case and minimize the spousal support you may need to pay.
2. Sign a Prenuptial Agreement
While you may believe you’ll be with your new betrothed partner forever, the reality is that many marriages end in divorce. Divorce rates are declining, but slowly, and the United States has the highest divorce rate of any country.
Signing a prenuptial agreement, commonly called a “prenup,” can protect both parties and establish a plan for handling a divorce. Making plans for a separation beforehand avoids many headaches and potential disagreements, as the terms have already been established when emotionally complex issues start to arise.
3. Negotiate a Fair Settlement
One of the best ways to avoid paying spousal support is to negotiate a settlement with your spouse without a legal battle. Reaching an agreement that you and your spouse find fair and equitable can save you time and money in legal fees. In addition, a fair settlement can help minimize the amount of spousal support ordered.
4. Prove Your Spouse Has the Ability to Support Themselves
Another way to avoid paying spousal support is to prove that your spouse can support themselves. If you can show evidence to the court that your spouse can earn a reasonable income independently, you could cut down or eliminate a support order.
For example, if your spouse has a college degree and has not worked for several years, this indicates they could likely find employment that will allow them to support themselves. Proving your spouse doesn’t need your financial support can help reduce or eliminate the amount of spousal support you may find you need to pay.
5. Consider Spousal Support Alternatives
Alternatives to traditional spousal support may be better for your situation. For example, you may be able to negotiate a lump-sum payment instead of monthly payments.
A lump-sum payment can be beneficial because it allows you to make a one-time payment and avoid ongoing payments that may be a financial burden you must keep planning for. You may also be able to offer other assets or property to be exchanged instead of spousal support payments.
6. Avoid Underreporting Income
Underreporting income is a common tactic that some spouses use to try to avoid paying spousal support. However, this is a risky strategy that can have serious consequences.
You may be subject to fines, penalties, and criminal charges if caught underreporting income. In addition, underreporting income can undermine your credibility in court and make it harder for you to negotiate a fair settlement.
7. Keep Accurate Financial Records
It is essential to keep accurate financial records if you face the prospect of paying spousal support by documenting all income, expenses, and assets. Keeping correct financial records can help you to build a strong case and can help to negotiate a fair settlement. In addition, accurate financial records can help ensure you are not overpaying for spousal support.
8. Challenge or Modify the Spousal Support Order
If ordered to pay spousal support, you may be able to challenge the order in court. You could challenge a spousal support order on several grounds, including fraud, duress, or mistake.
Modifying the order under certain circumstances is also possible if you currently pay spousal support. For example, if you experience a significant change in income or your spouse undergoes a substantial change in income, you may be eligible to modify the spousal support order.
However, challenging or modifying a spousal support order can be difficult and expensive and may not always be successful. You should work closely with your attorney to determine whether pursuing action on your spousal support order is viable.
Barnds Law LLC Can Help
In many cases, spousal support lasts for several years; in some cases, you may have to make alimony payments for the rest of your life. Considering the long-term financial implications of paying spousal support is vital, so work closely with an attorney to develop a strategy to minimize your financial burden.
With the right strategy and legal representation, you can protect your financial interests and confidently move forward after a divorce. Call Barnds Law LLC today at (913) 514-0909 for a free consultation.