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#773131 - 03/26/17 06:25 PM Working through to establish my Spousal Support
Wren Offline
recently joined

Registered: 03/26/17
Posts: 12
I am in the middle of mediation to end our 31 year marriage. It's been very peaceful, but as I expected, being in the middle of the splitting of assets, determining spousal support, etc is intense and hard with lot's of fear - primarily with my husband. I'm guessing once we get through this part, we should be back to being pretty peaceful. He's been the worker, and has travelled over 75% of the time throughout most of our marriage - a huge piece of why we aren't able to make it the long haul. I've been home, holding down the fort and raising the kids. We have been able to live a very comfortable lifestyle, but in my opinion, always a little beyond our means. But that's another topic!

I'm fighting to maintain, as close as I can, my Marital Standard of Living - within reason, of course. Until this is over, I have no idea what the realities are. My question today is this: He is a bigger spender than I am - for just one example, he reports that he spends the same as I do on groceries (I happily moved out to a little apartment a year ago) which is possible since he shops at high end places for the best seafood, and best wine even though he's rarely home. When he's on the "road", it costs him zero to eat. So when we put our FL-150's together into the Dissomaster, my spousal support was not nearly enough to meet my reported needs.

I'm wondering if I go through his Income and Expense Declaration line by line, and challenge him to spend less, then that will leave more support for me.
Am I on the right track? Thoughts? I have a zillion other questions, but this is where I am today.

Thank you in advance for your input!

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#773133 - 03/26/17 06:38 PM Re: Working through to establish my Spousal Support [Re: Wren]
MinnesotaMom Offline

old hand

Registered: 01/05/11
Posts: 792
What's the dollar amount difference when you count his expense declaration and without?

What is is his yearly gross income, according to his tax return?

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#773142 - 03/28/17 12:57 PM Re: Working through to establish my Spousal Support [Re: Wren]
TJMH Offline

enthusiast

Registered: 07/17/15
Posts: 347
Keep in mind that as you fight to maintain, as close as you can, your marital standard of living, he's ALSO fighting to maintain his marital standard of living. Now that you have two households and the same income, there are some mathematical challenges there.

How old are your kids? You don't mention child support, so are they out of the house? Sounds like you live in CA, are you aware that it's the expectation of the state that you make good faith efforts to become self-supporting within a reasonable period of time?

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#773144 - 03/28/17 09:56 PM Re: Working through to establish my Spousal Support [Re: Wren]
Wren Offline
recently joined

Registered: 03/26/17
Posts: 12
Thanks MinnesotaMom and TJMH....To answer your questions - as best as I can...
His income is $200k, plus about $25k bonus last year.
The Dissomaster came up with $5590 before taxes Spousal Support, and my declaration of expenses is about $8000 and his is about $11000. Again - seems crazy to me with the fact that he's gone so much, and when he's gone, he is on expenses.

And yes, I get what you say about him fighting to maintain his MSOL right along with me, and the one household going to two.

The kids are grown - no child support, thank goodness.
And yes - we are in CA and I have plans to work, but at my age - 58, it is not realistic for me to make enough to meet my MSOL. If we were meeting a judge, I understand that would be a big consideration.

Thanks for walking me through this....

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#773155 - 03/29/17 02:47 PM Re: Working through to establish my Spousal Support [Re: Wren]
TJMH Offline

enthusiast

Registered: 07/17/15
Posts: 347
Take a look at Family Code section 4320, it lists all of the factors a judge is required to consider in establishing judgment spousal support. The earning potential of the supported party is definitely a factor, with consideration of age, experience, education, etc.

The judge can't just use Disso-master as they do for temporary support, but my attorney has recommended using a figure based on Disso-master using something called a "B-key" or "B-bump" calculation as a starting point (I'm on the paying side). My understanding is that judgment spousal support is still primarily driven by difference in incomes and is typically somewhat less than what Disso-master spits out for temporary support.

Personally I don't think picking at his expense declaration and what you think he "should" be spending would be a useful exercise, but see what your attorney says.

As with most things in divorce, you're much better off if you can arrive at a negotiated solution without asking the court to decide.


Edited by TJMH (03/29/17 02:51 PM)

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#773175 - 04/02/17 06:33 PM Re: Working through to establish my Spousal Support [Re: Wren]
Wren Offline
recently joined

Registered: 03/26/17
Posts: 12
Thanks - I hear you on all the above about picking at his expense declaration.

I've been trying to think long and hard about what I REALLY want out of this...and it's that I want us to be able to walk away pretty much even. Since he has been the sole financial provider over the last 21 years (I worked until my second was born), and it's so late in my life to develop a career that would support my MSOL, is it fair to hope we will have the ability to afford the same expenditures? For example - if he will be able to afford to buy a house for - let's say - $600K, would it make sense for me to expect to be able to afford the same?

Realistically - which one of us should be more concerned about finances going forward? The one who is making the $$ or the one who is dependent on the one who is making the $$?

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#773176 - 04/03/17 05:28 AM Re: Working through to establish my Spousal Support [Re: Wren]
MinnesotaMom Offline

old hand

Registered: 01/05/11
Posts: 792
"if he will be able to afford to buy a house for - let's say - $600K, would it make sense for me to expect to be able to afford the same?"

According to CA, no. You can walk away even with assets, but you won't get 50% of his future income. It's never that high using the formula.

Are you getting considerable assets?

"Realistically - which one of us should be more concerned about finances going forward? The one who is making the $$ or the one who is dependent on the one who is making the $$?"

That's hard to say. He will have to carry life insurance to continue the payments if he dies tomorrow. Plus, in addition, you would get SS = to 50% of his, as long as you don't remarry. it all means you have locked in income. He, on the other hand, could lose or job, his company goes out of business, or one of a million other things that cuts off his income. Myself, I'd rather be in your shoes.


Edited by MinnesotaMom (04/03/17 05:31 AM)

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#773177 - 04/03/17 02:57 PM Re: Working through to establish my Spousal Support [Re: Wren]
TJMH Offline

enthusiast

Registered: 07/17/15
Posts: 347
Going forward, you should be concerned about your finances and he should be concerned about his. As long he's a source of income that you depend on, you do need to be somewhat concerned about how his finances impact yours. But other than that his finances and how concerned he is about them isn't really your business.

If you expect to continue to be dependent on spousal support it's not unreasonable to think about life insurance in case he passes, but in my opinion (again, looking at it from the paying spouse perspective) it's not really his obligation as an EX-spouse to continue to provide for you after he's dead. You can ask for him to carry life insurance for your benefit and may be able to get that written into your settlement agreement, or you MAY be able to get a judge to order it if it comes to that, but in my opinion if you want insurance on him you should be the one to pay for it.

The key to maintaining your marital standard of living at this point will be for you to do as much as you can to support yourself and reduce your reliance on spousal support. That's the way California courts look at it these days.

Also as a point of reference, my ex has been mostly out of the workforce for over 15 years and is 57 years old. In February she received her teaching certificate, she'll be finishing her MA in Education later this year and she has at least one job offer for the fall. So the notion that you're incapable of getting back into the workforce and providing for yourself just because you're 58 just doesn't fly. You may not be able to make the same income that your husband was making, but you need to be actively thinking about what you're going to do to support yourself.

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#773178 - 04/03/17 03:42 PM Re: Working through to establish my Spousal Support [Re: TJMH]
Wren Offline
recently joined

Registered: 03/26/17
Posts: 12
Thank you so much for your point of reference! Very helpful, and actually, encouraging for me to hear. I plan to get my Life Coach certification, and I do intend to make a "real" income going forward. Who is paying for her education - is that part of the settlement? If you stayed married, would she have still wanted to teach, or stay unemployed?

Did you and your ex-wife settle on modifiable or non-modifiable support? Are you in California? I assume you mediated? Since your situation sounds so close to mine, I am very interested in hearing more about how you walked through it all.

Our mediation is Wednesday, and I really want to go into that meeting as prepared as possible, with the right attitude and stance.

Thanks!

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#773179 - 04/03/17 03:55 PM Re: Working through to establish my Spousal Support [Re: MinnesotaMom]
Wren Offline
recently joined

Registered: 03/26/17
Posts: 12
It sounds like Life Insurance is an important topic from your reply. I get that. This is such a foreign topic for me to understand - any tips on what I need to know in order for me to feel as secure as possible? What questions to ask?

One thing I am trying to understand is what happens if he loses his income for whatever reason, which of course would affect his ability to pay spousal support, but has other assets to tap into. He is in line to inherit over roughly 3 million dollars worth of various real estate with his brother (mom is 88, and of course that 3 million would be split in two)...of course, I have no rights to that, but it will determine his future comfort. Does this mean he has little to be concerned about for his future? And he should have no problem continuing to pay my spousal support even if he loses his income?

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