Estimating Alimony?

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Estimating Alimony?

Unread postby buzzdad50 » Thu Oct 05, 2017 2:54 pm

Good afternoon. First time poster here. I've been a lurker for a few weeks reading, gaining knowledge, and am grateful such a resource exist. I believe my marriage will soon come to an end, and am exploring my options for doing so. Following the advice on this forum, I've determined my main goals during the process will be:

1. Secure 50/50 custody of my S5.
2. Keep as much of my finances as possible, especially my paycheck so i can support my son and myself.

I believe i have a good grip on #1, as i'm very involved in my son's life....which brings me to #2.

In all of my research i haven't been able to find any information that can give me an estimate on what i'll be looking at in alimony when the dust settles. I understand there are many variables and it's not a formula like CS, but maybe you guys can give me a ballpark?

-Live/married in TN
-Married six years
-i make 85k/year, 35yo
-wife is 34yo made around 40k/year prior to our son being born. Worked a little part time prior to him starting school, now has a heavier part time schedule that gets her 21-25k/year. I'm lightly pushing her to pursue FT.
-Both of us have bachelors degrees.
-reason for divorce is irreconcilable differences. I simply refuse to live in a loveless, sexless marriage for the rest of my life (or another year for that matter).

Thanks in advance. If any other information is needed let me know.
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Re: Estimating Alimony?

Unread postby TJinCA » Fri Oct 06, 2017 11:13 am

For better or worse (so to speak) most states don't follow any set formula for alimony, but require the judge to make a decision based on the individual circumstances of each case. Usually the law includes a list of "factors" that the judge must consider in setting the amount and duration of alimony, primarily including the receiver's need and the payer's ability to pay. A quick Google will give you a rundown of what those factors are, but that won't satisfy your question. But it would probably be useful for you to write down your assessment of each of those factors to support your argument.

Some states like California use a set formula for temporary support but won't allow the same formula to be used for judgment support. That's still left to the judge's discretion but at least it gives you a ballpark.

A rule of thumb I've heard of is along the lines of 40% of the payer's after-tax income minus 50% of the receiver's after tax income (I think with any child support included in the receiver's income and deducted from the payer's). Illinois recently adopted a similar guideline to be used for combined incomes under $250K, it's 30% of payer's gross income minus 20% of receiver's gross income and they have duration multipliers based on the length of the marriage. Something like that may give you a starting point for negotiating with your wife.

An attorney who's familiar with how the courts typically rule in your county, and possibly with the specific judge assigned to your case, may be able to give you a better answer about what to expect.
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Re: Estimating Alimony?

Unread postby lionel2013 » Fri Oct 06, 2017 11:18 am

In all of my research i haven't been able to find any information that can give me an estimate on what i'll be looking at in alimony when the dust settles.


If your state doesn't have a set formula for calculating alimony (like IL since 2015-2016), and if you are sure you did not leave any stone unturned in your research, then your only option is to have an initial consulation with a divorce attorney, and ask the question. Many/most of these consultations are free of charge, and if not, they charge you 0.5 - 1 hour.

When I was in your situation i had one, and I got a ballpark number but it ended up being way off (on the high side).
Whenever you think divorce is bad, remember there are worse things than divorce.
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Re: Estimating Alimony?

Unread postby Tom Kirkpatrick » Fri Oct 06, 2017 11:49 am

Read The List then build a list of your own. You should be keeping a well-written journal and parenting time tracker. You should also have a dedicated, digital recorder up and running any time you're around her. It'll be your only defense against phony DV charges.

BTW - A phony DV charge will torpedo your case. The same holds true for having a girl friend.

http://forum.dadsdivorce.com/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=13374

Do not move out of your house. It'll be the biggest mistake you could make.

As you build your case, maintain radio silence. You must never tip your hand.

Before you file: Get her to become fully self-supporting - as much as possible. That'll help reduce alimony.

With regard to alimony: Try to buy her out. The idea is to have no alimony clause in your decree whatsoever. You don't need that ball and chain post divorce.

buzzdad50 wrote:Married six years
Alimony duration should be no more than half of marriage length. Be sure to get a termination date certain and a no-modification clause. The only thing you want modified is if you lose your job or become disabled, even temporarily. Alimony must never be her pension.

Tom
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Re: Estimating Alimony?

Unread postby buzzdad50 » Fri Oct 06, 2017 12:38 pm

Thank you very much for the replies.

Maybe worth noting that I have a consultation already set several days from now...it's on my list of questions for them.

Using the formula given by TJinCA it seems manageable...not much worse than a car payment but i certainly would try to negotiate it to as little as possible. I've read some case studies (I believe that is the proper term) that puts the range anywhere from a walk in the park to downright devastating. The problem with those is i can't find any with similar conditions (i.e. fault, similar incomes and education to ours, etc...)

Noted on the other advice. I've read the list a couple times and try to revisit it regularly so it sinks in. I'll begin my journal immediately.
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Re: Estimating Alimony?

Unread postby TJinCA » Fri Oct 06, 2017 1:13 pm

More than likely the key to keeping your support obligation low is to boost her income (that is, reduce her need for support from you, as the court views it). If the kid is in school and after-school care is available she should be moving toward full-time employment. She may not be able to step right back into $40K but that should be the minimum goal, and if you can nudge her in that direction before you let her know you want a divorce you may be able to alleviate conflict later--it seems like the court likes to deal with existing facts a lot better than prospective speculations.

If you can show that she's voluntarily underemployed (usually through a vocational exam that will provide an expert opinion of what she has the ability to earn, given her skills and the job market in your area) you may be able to get additional income "imputed" to her and have spousal support determined on that basis.

And if you expect her income to increase as her day-to-day childcare responsibilities decrease, then you want either a defined step-down plan or at least a modifiable order so you can go back and request a reduction due to changed circumstances.
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Re: Estimating Alimony?

Unread postby lionel2013 » Fri Oct 06, 2017 1:27 pm

I've read some case studies (I believe that is the proper term) that puts the range anywhere from a walk in the park to downright devastating.


For a six year marriage it cannot/should not, possibly, be anywhere near devastating unless you are not paying attention to what you are agreeing to, and/or unless your attorney is inept. And, given that she has worked FT in the past, and has a BS degree, you should push for her FT level income to be imputed. Ask your attorney to push very hard for this (much more so than I did, and I'm still paying for it). some have advised you to "make your wife" get a FT job. I for one do not know how one would do that -- it sounds good but it's easier said than done. However, again, you can and should push hard for FT income to be imputed immediately or alimony on a steep downward slope.
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Re: Estimating Alimony?

Unread postby buzzdad50 » Fri Oct 06, 2017 9:13 pm

I honestly wasn't expecting such a positive outlook. I know it's not a set in stone thing and i could potentially still get an unfavorable payment, but having some positivity on this subject lowers my blood pressure a bit.

Thanks again for taking the time to reply. New member here so I'll likely have many more questions over the coming months.

Best regards
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Re: Estimating Alimony?

Unread postby Tom Kirkpatrick » Sat Oct 07, 2017 12:45 pm

buzzdad50 wrote: New member here so I'll likely have many more questions over the coming months.
Something to think about: Visiting frequency to the forum is directly proportional to the outcome of your case.

Tom
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Re: Estimating Alimony?

Unread postby steelmark » Mon Oct 09, 2017 12:28 pm

Your attorney who practices in your county and is experienced in your local family court will know how spousal is calculated.

Good part for you, pretty short term marriage.
Bad part? Income disparity.

Prepare for the worst & hope for the best, me thinks you'll be temporarily paying a lot more than a car payment based on the income disparity.

You 85k, her 25k, 60k delta there.

If you are at 50/50 on custody, your invcomes could be made to equal for what should be a pretty short time period based on your length of marriage.

You could end up paying her $30k/year equaling your incomes at $55k. It's a tax deduction to you and income for her. With equal income and 50/50 custody, there shouldn't be child support for the duration of spousal support.

I'm in a different state than you, but the above scenario is exactly what happened to me, it was the formula used in the county where I filed.
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