Negotiating Alimony Through Mediation

Divorcing couples in Pleasanton only find themselves in front of a judge in a heated dispute over alimony if they are unable to reach a decision amicably on their own. Alimony battles can be expensive, time consuming, and stressful, not to mention that they ultimately leave the decision about the involved couple’s future to someone else. As such, it is imperative that couples make a reasonable effort to reach a mutual agreement through collaborative means such as mediation.

Simply put, mediation is a process in which divorcing spouses come together with the assistance of a neutral third party, known as a “mediator,” to peacefully sort out the terms of their divorce. Since alimony is often one of the most contentious matters during any divorce, it is important that divorcing spouses keep several tips in mind to keep tensions to a minimum and maximize their chances of achieving an amicable solution.

If you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse are attempting to solve your alimony dispute outside of court, the following tips can help you strike a balance between both of your goals during negotiations:

  1. Do your homework: Regardless of whether you will be paying or receiving support, you will need to gather information to be effective during negotiations. While spouses are legally required to submit financial disclosures when divorcing, you will need to know about any and all separate assets your spouse holds, their income and expense information, bonuses, benefits, and overtime, and the value of your marital home.
  2. Evaluate your needs: Since you will need to prepare a monthly income and expense disclosure anyway, use it to determine how much support you need to receive or pay. There is usually no standard formula to establish an appropriate number, so you simply need to decide what you think is reasonable and ask. This will act as a starting point for negotiations.
  3. Consider taxes: Alimony payments are generally tax deductible for the paying spouse and taxable as income for the receiving spouse. If you are to be the paying spouse, be aware that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) may dedicate extra scrutiny during the first few years to ensure the money is indeed going towards spousal maintenance. Likewise, if you are to receive alimony, consider how it may affect your finances once taxes are due. In some cases, it may make more sense to accept a lower alimony amount in exchange for non-taxable alternatives, such as contributing to home upkeep, to stay in a lower tax bracket.

Simplify Your Alimony Case with Ross Family Law, P.C.

At Ross Family Law, P.C., our Pleasanton family lawyers can guide you step-by-step through the process of divorce and help you and your spouse pursue the smoothest resolution possible for your separation. To find out more about how our top-rated mediators can help with your case, dial (925) 308-9920 or contact our office online and schedule a confidential case review.