Groups » How to Avoid the Custody and Alimony Tug of War

Divorce is never easy no matter how old you are, how long you have been married or how many assets you have acquired in the course of your relationship. The end of a spousal relationship involves so many legal parameters that can become easily marred by emotional discord that finding an equitable agreement quickly can seem somewhat impossible.

The law is clear on the division of estate and the equitable rights of both husband and wife, as well as minors and dependents. The law unfortunately does not protect either parent from the emotional maelstrom that comes with a separation and inevitably a legal divorce. However for father’s it can seem as though the law favors the rights of the mother over what may be best for the children depending on your own unique situation. And that bias can feel frustrating for men.

There is a way to avoid much of the custody and alimony tug of war that can not only cost damage to a healthy co-parenting arrangement but also cost you financially in terms of never ending legal disputes and mediation between spouses. Is there a way to keep it friendly and professional? Absolutely but it involves working in an organized and responsible way when it comes to finalizing the fair terms of your divorce.

Understanding Alimony

Whether we like it or not men tend to earn more than women in North America. While this gender and income gap is closing, many of the laws written into the provision of alimony and child support take these considerations in mind and seek to protect the well being of both the divorced wife and the children who remain predominantly in their care. The law addresses that many women remove themselves from the labor force in order to raise children and manage the household, while the major breadwinner continues to support the family outside the home.

What the law has been slower to address is that in some cases, wives do earn more than their husbands in which case paternal alimony is also possible if the spouse can determine that they will encounter financial hardship after the matrimonial relationship is dissolved. And what about cases where the Father will be the primary care giver? This is happening more and more frequently and presents a unique opportunity for paternal support and unique custody arrangements.

In a typical situation however the law expects that the wife and mother should not encounter a dramatic change in their economic status as a result of divorce. If the former wife is working that may mean an equitable division of property as well as a monthly monetary payment to assist with equalizing her income.

When Is the Spouse Not Entitled to Alimony?

The legal requirements for alimony exist on the assumption that the wife has no income or a very modest income in general. This situation of support can remain in effect for years depending on her income status and depending on how long you were married. When or if she chooses to remarry, she becomes ineligible for continuation of alimony in a two income household (with her new spouse providing financial support).

In some cases where the wife is making more than the husband or in the event that the spouses were making close to or equal income, then an application for alimony will generally be denied in court. If both spouses are earning the same amount of annual income there is no need to equalize income and therefore alimony (although an assessment can be requested) is not required by law.

One of the unfortunate problems for wage earning husbands is abuse of the system whereas a former partner may refuse to work outside the home or seek employment. There is however a limited time that a spouse can claim alimony and it varies by State. The greater the length of the relationship the more months of spousal support will be required upon divorce, regardless of whether the former spouse chooses to work or not. This factor is what makes achieving an amicable divorce critically important from a long term financial perspective.

Avoiding the Tug of War

It is possible! In fact in the current economy with the soaring divorce rate, many couples understand that while they do not wish to continue building a life together there is no need to do collateral damage to dissolve the legal relationship. More and more people are finding a more friendly way to divorce which not only makes the process easier, but also saves time and money, as well as stress and aggravation.

Here are a few tips to help:

Avoid Using Your Lawyer as a Therapist

Both spouses have a common interest, which is to resolve the divorce as soon as possible with the least amount of expense to the estate. The more you spend on legal fees the less money there will be left to distribute. Literally, your anger can cost you so don’t waste the lawyers time (on either side) with venting frustration and personal vendetta. The lawyer is there to assist with the administrative aspects only. Stick to the facts and you will not only have less to argue about, but your legal fees in the process will remain under control.

Avoid New Romantic Relationships

If you are going through a divorce and you suspect that your spouse may be defensive or angry, the worst thing you can do is bring another person into the equation. While many couples find solace in rebound style relationships, remember that given the emotionally charged situation, it might not be the best time to introduce someone new to your children or family. The impact can take your divorce from amicable to animosity faster than you can say "meet my new girlfriend".

Avoid Expensive Property Disputes

Your entire Disney collection of DVDs is not worth five or more hours of legal dispute. Before you start arguing over property, try to remember the value of the property versus the cost of pleading your case to own it. Sometimes friendly divorce proceedings get ugly over the most innocuous items of property which are more about being emotionally charged and sensitive rather than the actual item. You can always buy more DVDs later.

Remember to approach your divorce and alimony proceedings from a factual rather than emotional stand point whenever you can. Hire the Divorce lawyers who are accustomed in dealing with the high stakes and collateral damage that comes from ending a relationship personally and legally. Listen to the lawyer’s advice and they will counsel you to a peaceful and prompt resolution.

Avoid the tug of war when it comes to alimony and property. Not only will it make the process easier on you from an emotional and physical health perspective but it will also help you get past the event and move toward rebuilding and creating your new life post-divorce. And particularly where children are involved this is best for everyone in the long run.


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