Financial matters are often the source of the biggest arguments between divorcing couples. Each person wants to protect their interests, so it can be difficult to reach an agreement and you may want to consider getting help from an experienced divorce mediation specialist.

Spousal support can be a major point of contention during a divorce and court trials tend to be expensive and can drag on for months. Before you go to court to find a solution, consider divorce mediation as a way to reach an agreement among yourselves while saving time and money. 

What Is Spousal Support?

Spousal support or alimony is the money one spouse must pay to another according to their divorce agreement. This is usually paid on a regular basis for a given period of time, such as monthly.

Spousal support is designed to provide financial support to a spouse who has a lower income than the other spouse.

This form of support is separate from child support. It’s possible to be ordered by the court to pay both child and spousal support. The money from child support is dedicated to paying for a child’s needs, like food, clothing, and school supplies.

There are many types of alimony, including temporary alimony that is only paid out during the divorce process. Permanent alimony continues on a monthly basis until either one spouse dies or the lower-income spouse remarries.

Temporary support has the goal of helping the lower-earning spouse find a better job, while permanent support is designed to pay for a spouse’s basic needs.

Rehabilitative support, on the other hand, is designed to help the lower-income spouse find a better-paying job by getting an education or job training. That way, the spouse can become self-sufficient.

The terms of spousal support can be flexible and customized to a couple’s specific financial situation. 

How Is Spousal Support Calculated?

The laws on alimony are generally meant to ensure that each person can maintain the same quality of life even after the divorce.

If you take your divorce case to court, they will take several factors into consideration while determining if one person has to pay alimony, and if so, how much and for how long.

The courts use complicated formulas to arrive at a number that they believe to be fair to both parties. One of the determining factors is how long you were married. Spouses of long-term marriages of more than ten years will usually be awarded alimony if the spouses don’t earn the same income.

They’ll also take into consideration each person’s financial situation, particularly sources of income and their standards of living. Long-term marriages over ten years are treated differently from shorter marriages.

The court will decide when the payments can stop. In some cases, it will be after several years, remarriage, or one spouse’s death. 

Can You Settle Spousal Support Out of Court?

It’s always possible to settle issues related to your divorce out of court if you put them in the form of a divorce settlement agreement.

A divorce settlement agreement is a written legal document that provides a record of the agreements you and your spouse have reached regarding things like alimony, child custody, and property division.

Your settlement creates a legal agreement for you and your spouse without the hassle and expense of going to court. It also allows you to come to a mutual agreement instead of relying on a court to calculate payments for you.

In order to effectively negotiate support payments amongst yourselves, both parties will have to present their financial records during mediation. That way, you and your partner can settle on a payment amount that the paying spouse can afford, and that will meet the needs of the spouse who will receive alimony.

This option is best if you trust your spouse not to hide financial records or conceal assets because mediation is not a formal legal process and it relies upon compliance from both parties.

If you don’t have that level of trust, it may be wise to focus on other issues during mediation so you can leave the calculations up to a court instead.

How Can Divorce Mediation Help You Settle Out of Court?

During divorce mediation, you and your spouse can make your own decisions about issues like spousal support. Your mediator serves as a neutral party who can facilitate calm, productive discussions.

Experienced mediators in Orange County have the skills to defuse arguments and keep couples on track as they work to reach agreements that meet both of their needs.

Preparing ahead of time can increase your chances of successful mediation. Make sure to bring detailed financial records for both the mediator and your spouse to refer to.

This information can guide your negotiations for support payments because it will help determine how much you can afford to give or how much support you need.

It’s also wise to create a budget ahead of time. This budget will show your estimated post-divorce budget. It should include your basic needs, legal fees, and other expenses. Be as realistic as possible to ensure you can have a productive discussion with your mediator and spouse. Divorce will likely change your budget and require a corresponding lifestyle change.

Honest discussions about finances can be tough, but they will be beneficial in the long run and help you create a sustainable divorce agreement. Spousal support payments are enforced by the legal system, so it’s essential to find a balance.

Choose the Right Divorce Mediator for Finalizing Financial Support 

As you and your spouse make decisions during mediation, your mediator can draft an agreement. A mediator with legal training can also write the final version of your settlement agreement, which will be filed in court.

With our divorce mediation services, Santa Ana couples can rest assured that we’ll help them communicate calmly and make important decisions together. Settling a divorce out of court saves you time and money, and it gives you more control over the outcome of your divorce.

We offer support from our team of legal and financial experts throughout the entire divorce process.

Schedule a free consultation to learn more about our mediation services, contact us at the Divorce Mediation of California today.