need advice for SS calculation

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Re: need advice for SS calculation

Unread postby augustus » Wed Oct 25, 2017 12:51 pm

So maybe my approach is on the right track, proposing an average of what I've earned over the last 5 years with some percentage deduction acknowledging that that level of income was achieved with working substantially more than full-time. You'll note that I used only a 15% deduction (whereas the real hourly amount of 60 hrs/wk could be considered a 33% reduction as compared to a 40 hour work week.)
The actual discussion of this with my ex gets emotional since it had been an issue throughout the marriage. So she would acknowledge how hard I worked; probably place that as one of a handful of factors leading to our marriage problems, and would likely acknowledge that it would be best for everyone if I chose to work less. On the other hand, her financial advisors will see the direct impact on the support numbers so not sure how this will resolve itself in her mind....I think we are almost certain to stay within mediation so it means that all these things are part of the negotiation.
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Re: need advice for SS calculation

Unread postby Tom Kirkpatrick » Wed Oct 25, 2017 1:42 pm

augustus wrote:I think we are almost certain to stay within mediation so it means that all these things are part of the negotiation.
That's the trick of mediation. That's how you end up with an unfavorable settlement. And once you settle, there's no going back.

And FYI, a settlement is not the same as a court order. And the mediator is not the judge. Instead, the mediator is working against you.

Settle parenting time first and foremost; no less than 50/50.

Tom
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Re: need advice for SS calculation

Unread postby LovingDadof2 » Thu Oct 26, 2017 8:24 am

50-50 parenting time is best for you and kids, period.

As an added financial bonus, 50-50 will help reduce your CS obligations.
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Re: need advice for SS calculation

Unread postby augustus » Thu Oct 26, 2017 8:42 am

Yeah, I think we are set in agreeing at 50/50 in terms of time. I'm also planning on having a lawyer review whatever agreement we work out with the mediator before signing anything but I think there's no issue regarding the splitting of the time with the kids evenly. Not being in agreement on that would be by far a harder aspect of divorce so I should count myself lucky that we seem in complete agreement on that aspect of things and want the kids to not feel put in the middle of the things we're working out.
So the finances and agreement is the main issue I'm still trying to work out.
One other thing that I'm assessing is her workload. In addition to the comments regarding my self-employed income, she is a licensed speech language pathologist but has chosen to work a varying load from half to full-time over the last 10 years. (her ability to work less was directly tied to my willingness and choice to work a lot more than full-time....)
She recently worked less to allow her time to get an additional masters degree in writing so her gross income was lower. She now has graduated with that additional masters and had always been considering working part-time for the school and then part-time self-employed. So another question is how to take this into account with the spousal support analysis. Since we're in mediation, the concept of what seems reasonable and fair for me to propose is the issue. It seems fair for me to assume she could work 40 hours a week. We're talking about having the spousal support agreement go for 11 years too so it seems to me that we should not be using whatever we've done in the last few years (her working less to finish a degree largely done for her own enjoyment) but to acknowledge that she's a licensed professional with no reason not to be able to work full-time....Am I being petty or prudent????
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Re: need advice for SS calculation

Unread postby LovingDadof2 » Thu Oct 26, 2017 9:14 am

OP, even though you think she's being agreeable to 50-50, I cannot stress this enough. DO NOT move onto the financials, property, etc. without having the 50-50 agreement signed and locked up.

Why do we keep stressing this? B/c once you move into financials, she's going to look for leverage if she's not happy. If she's not getting what she wants in terms of $$$, guess what she's going to do? She's going to threaten to scale back your parenting time after realizing she'll get more $$$ in terms of CS, claim she'll now need to work less to watch the kids more and hence will need more SS. See the financial connection?

Don't act hostile or hold the mediation hostage, just follow this advice I either found or was given on this forum (wish I saved the poster's name to give credit):

I was advised by counsel that if I simply said "You either agree to 50/50 or I walk away and this is over" is hostile in the eyes of the court and they had seen sanctions imposed. If you instead say "I will constructively cooperate with discussing all aspects of the settlement, but you should know that 50/50 must be a part of the final settlement" then you are not holding the process hostage.
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Re: need advice for SS calculation

Unread postby TJinCA » Thu Oct 26, 2017 9:55 am

augustus wrote:my two teenage kids come stay with me every other week (so 50% time.)
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Re: need advice for SS calculation

Unread postby TJinCA » Thu Oct 26, 2017 10:04 am

You need to check the laws regarding spousal support in your state, but typically if you send the issue to a judge they have pretty broad discretion in what they consider. So to your points:

1. For your income, you may be able to argue (and demonstrate) that you've been doing a "workaholic" thing in the past and that resulted in your documented income, but that going forward you feel that it's in the best interest of the kids if you start cutting back on work hours. You may be able to convince the judge to base your ability to pay on a projected lower level of income.

2. With a masters degree (or two?), a professional license and teenage kids that she only has half the time, there's no reason that your ex couldn't work full time and earn a full-time salary if she wanted to. If she's voluntarily unemployed or underemployed you can probably, with appropriate evidence from a vocational examiner, get her imputed with income appropriate to a full-time SLP in your area. The vocational examiner will testify to her qualifications (slam dunk with the license), availability of jobs (seems like most places SLPs are in demand) and typical salary range.

If you ex is a reasonable person hopefully you can get those factors considered in your negotiations and won't have to submit it to the court to decide.
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Re: need advice for SS calculation

Unread postby augustus » Thu Oct 26, 2017 11:07 am

Thanks Tjin-that helps to hear your input. Yeah, my ex has two masters degrees and a bachelors degree so is way more educated than me, but I do have a more established business so it seems reasonable that we both can work close to full-time and manage our role as 50/50 time with the kids (her stepping up her hours and me reducing mine.) I'm hoping the mediator will help convey that this is reasonable too. I'm waiting to hear his response so will let you all know....
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Re: need advice for SS calculation

Unread postby Tom Kirkpatrick » Thu Oct 26, 2017 2:04 pm

augustus wrote:.....(her ability to work less was directly tied to my willingness and choice to work a lot more than full-time....)
This was a perk of marriage. Now that marriage is ending, that perk must end.

BTW - You're getting side-tracked, Bro. Settle 50/50 first.

augustus wrote:It seems fair for me to assume she could work 40 hours a week.
How 'bout the big picture, Bro?? 40 hrs/wk for her, 40 hr/wk for you. What's good for the goose is good for gander, Bro.

augustus wrote:We're talking about having the spousal support agreement go for 11 years.....
11 yrs just like that?? Are you serious?? Have you talked about conditions for alimony termination??

Here's the deal: Your STBX has two advanced degrees plus a professional license. There's absolutely no reason she shouldn't be fully self-supporting.
1) Someone's coaching her.
2) It's plain to see the mediator's leading you down the primrose path.

In exchange for no alimony, have you considered buying her out?? Give her something she wants.

Tom
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