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Alimony / Child Support Question


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Disclaimers:

  • We are working with a mediator.
  • I have hired an additional mediator to review things from my end, just to cover all of my bases, and will be running everything by her before I sign anything.
  • So far we have been amicable with what we are splitting, etc.,

 

I will be meeting tomorrow night with the mediator and my STBX. Here are some of the details on the table as we stand now.

 

We have two children, ages 22 and 19. The 19 year old is still considered a minor and will not be emancipated in the eyes of the law until age 21. Until that time, the law says that because our gross total income is less than $250,000, there will be no alimony, only child support. Our gross income is around $248,000 so we just miss the cutoff. But based on the calculations for child support, my STBX would pay me about $568 per week in child support, which brings my total salary per year to about $68,000 gross, while his would be $138,000 gross. That just seems like a very unfair balance.

 

Once she becomes emancipated he will start paying me alimony anywhere from $700 - $1000 per week, depending on a lot of factors, and those figures seem to be more in line with "equaling out" our salaries.

 

Right now we are discussing splitting the 401K 60%/40% in his favor, and the proceeds from the house are going to pay off all our debts so there is nothing there to split.

 

Has anyone been there / done that with child support vs. alimony? I know that child support is not taxed, but I have figured that into my calculations and it still seems to be very uneven.

 

 

 

 

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I have no idea, but you seem to be getting screwed all the way around.

 

Also, I have never heard of anyone getting alimony after a few years of no alimony. How would you ensure it is collected. I would definitely not be counting on that money.

 

Why does he get 60% of a 401K? I have never heard of that either.

 

I would get a better mediator and/or lawyer. Around here, you would get the house, 50/50 on other assets, alimony for enough years for you to get educated for a job, and child support.

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I don't get the 60/40 split on the 401K.  

 

I don't get the no alimony stance if you haven't been working outside the home all these years. That's not how it would be here in my state.  Here you would expect either one year of alimony for each two years at home, or vice versa, I forget which OR alimony while you retrain for a career.  And if it were me, I would be asking for much more of the 401K on the presumption that the years it would take me to start over at a new career would set back my earning power enough to slow retirement savings down for a long time--not sure whether I would win on that, but I'd sure make the argument.

 

The child support is a trivial amount of money and seems entirely inadequate.  (Translation:  WTF?)

 

I don't see how you get the alimony to start later if you agree not to have it now.  In my state whatever you agree to at the start is what you negotiate down from, not what you negotiate up from.  

 

It seems like this guy is playing you all the way down the line, manuvering you into making moves that will hurt you in the long run.

 

Additionally, I would ask about under what circumstances this would be renegotiated, and what would happen if he lost his job/died/retired.  Get those eventualities firmed up in the agreement.  And, don't consult another mediator. CONSULT A LAWYER.  A mean one.

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You need a lawyer not a mediator. You are being screwed. At his income level, the child support is low and you should be getting a full half of his 401K unless you have one of your own in which you could choose to take a lesser amount of his if he chooses not to ask for half of yours or whatever, but generally speaking everything should be a 50/50 financially. In the case of my brother, his ex wanted the 50% split of his 401K but that meant by extension she had to pay out 50% on hers. Since his was higher, it was detrimental to him and beneficial to her, but an equitable arrangement.

 

Also there should be more outlined than just a child support payment. Often the parent with the higher income is expected to pay doctor's office co pays and sports fees or similar in addition to the child support.

 

My brother did not pay alimony as this is not an alimony state so once his oldest reached majority, his ex did not receive any financial contribution from him.

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"The courts are still grappling with the intersection of the child support guidelines and the new alimony law -- particularly in circumstances where one parent earns almost 100% of the family's income. Many judges follow what appears to be the precise letter of the law -- that is, every dollar used to calculate child support cannot be used to calculate alimony. From there, judges still differ on what the end result should be. Some judges say that where the total income of the parents is below $250k, and there is a child support order, then there is *no* alimony. So some judges will say it's your option "a". Others recognize that there are tax advantages to the family as a whole by calling some of the support alimony and some child support."

 

This is from a site stating the law in my state. This is where the "no alimony until the child support is done" comes from.

 

I plan on addressing the 60/40 split of the 401K.

 

Both mediators that we are using are lawyers. They are just working as mediators for our situation as there will be no litigation involved.

 

The child support amount does seem trivial but then again I don't know how much my STBX will be responsible for. My 19 year old lives at college but when she is at home she stays with either one of us, depending on her schedule, etc. So we both are sharing the cost of her expenses, I am not shouldering all her costs. I believe he will be responsible for any future college expenses as she probably will be going for her master's degree.

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Disclaimers:

  • We are working with a mediator.
  • I have hired an additional mediator to review things from my end, just to cover all of my bases, and will be running everything by her before I sign anything.
  • So far we have been amicable with what we are splitting, etc.,
I will be meeting tomorrow night with the mediator and my STBX. Here are some of the details on the table as we stand now.

 

We have two children, ages 22 and 19. The 19 year old is still considered a minor and will not be emancipated in the eyes of the law until age 21. Until that time, the law says that because our gross total income is less than $250,000, there will be no alimony, only child support. Our gross income is around $248,000 so we just miss the cutoff. But based on the calculations for child support, my STBX would pay me about $568 per week in child support, which brings my total salary per year to about $68,000 gross, while his would be $138,000 gross. That just seems like a very unfair balance.

 

Once she becomes emancipated he will start paying me alimony anywhere from $700 - $1000 per week, depending on a lot of factors, and those figures seem to be more in line with "equaling out" our salaries.

 

Right now we are discussing splitting the 401K 60%/40% in his favor, and the proceeds from the house are going to pay off all our debts so there is nothing there to split.

 

Has anyone been there / done that with child support vs. alimony? I know that child support is not taxed, but I have figured that into my calculations and it still seems to be very uneven.

Sadly, the goal of family law is not to make the former spouse whole, it is to keep the kids' situation as stable as possible. It sucks for the spouse that has the lesser earning potential :(

Not sure why you'd agree to sell your home and pay all the debts. He seems in a far better position to keep servicing the debt. I would think staying in one's home is a pretty strong negotiating point.

Why does spousal support go up after child is emancipated?. And why 60/40 for assets when he is also getting the benefit of full equity of the house paying down debt?

Eta I'm not a family law attorney and there's no good legal advice from strangers on the Internet :)

Eta that the educational expenses need to be in writing.and just because you think a judge would interpret a law a certain way does not mean you roll over and assume that's the scenario that applies to you. I echo the others to hire someone who will *advocate* for you at this point.

Edited by madteaparty
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This is from a site stating the law in my state. This is where the "no alimony until the child support is done" comes from.

 

I plan on addressing the 60/40 split of the 401K.

 

Both mediators that we are using are lawyers. They are just working as mediators for our situation as there will be no litigation involved.

 

The child support amount does seem trivial but then again I don't know how much my STBX will be responsible for. My 19 year old lives at college but when she is at home she stays with either one of us, depending on her schedule, etc. So we both are sharing the cost of her expenses, I am not shouldering all her costs. I believe he will be responsible for any future college expenses as she probably will be going for her master's degree.

If she is considered a minor, and if they consider this an issue of "joint custody" then yes, his support may be a lot lower because he is viewed as providing 50% of her expenses. My brother's child support was not all that robust because he had 50/50 custody with his ex.

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LAWYER. You need a LAWYER.

 

My mom was a divorce lawyer, and she did some mediation, too. 

 

One thing I learned was that when you are in a legal situation, you need the very best lawyer you can get. It's worth the money.

 

No way, no how, is it kosher to get no alimony until the child support is done. That makes no sense. You either misunderstand the law or live in a bizarre locale. I've known plenty of people who got divorced in many states, and I've NEVER heard such a thing. That's bonkers. This is why you need an expert who went to law school for 3 years and works in the field 1000s of hours per year . . . as they will be able to better explain this. If your mediators confirmed this concept to you, then I'd FIRE THEM yesterday.

 

Why a 60/40 split of retirement in HIS favor? He can keep working at that high rate. You can't! If anything, you deserve a LARGER split of current retirement savings. 

 

Unless you are the "bad" party in a lopsided divorce (you were hateful, lazy, cheated, etc, while he was a model husband), then I can't fathom how what you describe would be fair. 

 

Why are you selling your home and paying off debts unless YOU want to do that? Why not you keep the home, and he pay off the debts. For sure, you need cash to get into another home!

 

Tell us what state you are in, and I bet we can google up better info.

 

Get a divorce lawyer. Yesterday. Not a mediator. A lawyer. The very best one you can find. Prepare to need 10k or so for a retainer to get things started. 

 

Just because you get your own lawyer does not mean you have to spend 10s of thousands fighting. You can still work with the mediator (or without one) and come up with a settlement that you both agree to. MOST divorce cases end in settlement, without a huge court fight. Mom was a top-notch, top-dollar divorce lawyer. She was also a great human being and worked, as an advocate, not just for the best $$ settlement, but more so for the most humane and workable settlement for all the family. She knew it was in her client's best interest to get a fair settlement while not burning down the relationships. She routinely sent clients to therapy, too. She always had MORE than enough clients to keep her and her associates busy, and I 100% guarantee she never ran up a bill or slowed down settlement . . . She just helped people get what they needed in as much lawyer-time as required. 

 

God, GO TO A LAWYER. The best one you can find. 

 

 

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Over 2k per month for one child is not an insignificant amount.

 

If you went to court how much alimony and for how long would you get? Every state is different.

 

When I divorced after 26 years of marriage I was awarded three years of alimony.

 

Alimony doesn't really stick. He can agree to it today and then if he gets remarried you can bet he will try to get out of it.

 

And I would not agree to an uneven split of 401k. I got half of my XHs even though I had not worked in 10 years.

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Over 2k per month for one child is not an insignificant amount.

 

If you went to court how much alimony and for how long would you get? Every state is different.

 

When I divorced after 26 years of marriage I was awarded three years of alimony.

 

Alimony doesn't really stick. He can agree to it today and then if he gets remarried you can bet he will try to get out of it.

 

And I would not agree to an uneven split of 401k. I got half of my XHs even though I had not worked in 10 years.

 

Well, 2k/mo = 24k/yr which, I'm sorry to say, but if you're family is used to 248k/yr, then, that's gonna' be peanuts. It's about 10% of what they'd lived on previously. 

 

A family living on 250k/yr typically has standards of living for the kids that are not going to be anywhere near met on 1/10 of what they'd had before. 

 

 

No way. No how. 

 

I'm not saying one can't provide a great home to a kid on that sort of money, but it is NOT comparable to the 248k/yr lifestyle they've been accustomed to. And, no way is it fair to do that to the lower-earning spouse of a long marriage unless they are at utter "fault" IMHO. 

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I live in Massachusetts. I don't know if that helps clarify anything.

 

Selling the house is something I agree with. I don't want to live there, it is too big and too costly for me. And using the proceeds to pay off our shared debts is something I am fine with. I want to start off debt free. The debts are various credit cards and loans we took out to pay for our two daughters college education. To not have any of that debt follow me into single life is fine with me. It was debt we both acquired, but are some of you saying that he should be paying off more of the debt from his "half" because he makes more? That might be a concept I would look into .......

 

Right now the deal on the table is that he would pay me alimony (after the child support was done) until he turns 67, which is about 14 years from now.

 

I do plan on getting the 401K split 50/50.

Edited by Home'scool
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I live in Massachusetts. I don't know if that helps clarify anything.

 

Selling the house is something I agree with. I don't want to live there, it is too big and too costly for me. And using the proceeds to pay off our shared debts is something I am fine with. I want to start off debt free. The debts are various credit cards and loans we took out to pay for our two daughters college education. To not have any of that debt follow me into single life is fine with me. It was debt we both acquired, but are some of you saying that he should be paying off more of the debt from his "half" because he makes more? That might be a concept I would look into .......

 

Right now the deal on the table is that he would pay me alimony (after the child support was done) until he turns 67, which is about 14 years from now.

 

I do plan on getting the 401K split 50/50.

 

MA has some nutty alimony laws, but I can't find anything prohibiting alimony simultaneous to child support. I'd get a second opinion.

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Well, 2k/mo = 24k/yr which, I'm sorry to say, but if you're family is used to 248k/yr, then, that's gonna' be peanuts. It's about 10% of what they'd lived on previously.

 

A family living on 250k/yr typically has standards of living for the kids that are not going to be anywhere near met on 1/10 of what they'd had before.

 

 

No way. No how.

 

I'm not saying one can't provide a great home to a kid on that sort of money, but it is NOT comparable to the 248k/yr lifestyle they've been accustomed to. And, no way is it fair to do that to the lower-earning spouse of a long marriage unless they are at utter "fault" IMHO.

It may not be fair but it happens all the time.

 

I was divorced in NY state (the worst state to get a divorce in, in my opinion) and based on your salary you got X in child support for 1 child, Y for 2 children, etc.

 

If her 19 year old is not living with her full time it would be reduced according to some archaic plan that only makes sense to whoever came up with it.

 

If you want X to continue to pay for college and grad school you need it spelled out in black and white. Assume nothing, it all needs to be clearly stated.

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Why would he get more of the 401k than you? You do not have the chance to continue to build it now like he does. Plus, maybe you could skip asking for child support but just get alimony? Leave the kids out of it. Don't forget to put something in there requiring paying for college.

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Don't get me wrong......I do believe there should be an equalizing of incomes when a long term marriage ends. Unfortunately, in many states you are given 3 years and told to figure out how to support yourself. And then it ends if you remarry....why is that fair? What does my new spouse have to do with what I was suppose to get out of my first marriage contract?

 

You are fortunate cs will last until your youngest is 21. My ends when my son is 18 or finishes high school.

 

As far as whether or not you should get alimony while you also get cs....if this is being mediated it isn't about a law...it is about what he will agree to. And what you will agree to.

 

No way around it....he has the higher income and that gives him the upper hand.

 

I would definitely get a consult with an attorney. You need to at least know what you would likely be awarded so you are not giving the farm away needlessly.

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By the way I am not a fan of mediation. IMO, if two people can agree on terms they don't need a mediator. And if they can't a mediator won't help. And mediators are not cheap.

 

I know court isn't either. But I would rather a judge say what I am getting than to let my xh be in charge.

 

And btw, isn't this the case of he wanted a divorce and then you found out he has another woman? Does that count for nothing in your states divorce laws?

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Well, 2k/mo = 24k/yr which, I'm sorry to say, but if you're family is used to 248k/yr, then, that's gonna' be peanuts. It's about 10% of what they'd lived on previously.

 

A family living on 250k/yr typically has standards of living for the kids that are not going to be anywhere near met on 1/10 of what they'd had before.

 

 

No way. No how.

 

I'm not saying one can't provide a great home to a kid on that sort of money, but it is NOT comparable to the 248k/yr lifestyle they've been accustomed to. And, no way is it fair to do that to the lower-earning spouse of a long marriage unless they are at utter "fault" IMHO.

It isn't just the 24k. OP has a salary too I think. It is all part of the calculation.

 

And I don't think it is fair at all. But I think it is realty.

 

My xh makes 115k. I get less than 1000 per month for one child.

 

I long ago quit thinking any of it is fair.

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It isn't just the 24k. OP has a salary too I think. It is all part of the calculation.

 

And I don't think it is fair at all. But I think it is realty.

 

My xh makes 115k. I get less than 1000 per month for one child.

 

I long ago quit thinking any of it is fair.

This. My DH's salary just tripled in one year. If I divorced him, I would get $150 more a month (for a total of three kids) than I would have gotten when he barely made enough to pay the bills. The laws are not set up in any way shape or form to equalize the financial situations of the two households.

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Oops, intended to add to the OP:

Every time you give another bit of info about this divorce, I'm saddened at how he's treating you and how you let him treat you. Please, love yourself and your daughters enough to stop letting him screw you over. Pardon my language.

 

You should be going after a 70/30 split on that 401K In Your Favor. He keeps earning after the divorce, he pays minimal child support/alimony, you will earn very little (comparatively). 50/50 isn't fair. 60/40 in his favor is insane. Go after 70/30. Get a better lawyer and get the money. You likely won't get that much, but try. Mediation doesn't work with someone who thinks you aren't worth being treated as an equal.

 

Good luck!

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Agree with poster right above me. I know when my parents divorced around age 50, my dad gave my mom the majority of the retirement savings--I want to say 75%. The rationale was that he had another 20-25 working years left (as a doctor) to rebuild what he would need. She never had any kind of high-powered job to build up a retirement fund, so this was fair.

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Agree with poster right above me. I know when my parents divorced around age 50, my dad gave my mom the majority of the retirement savings--I want to say 75%. The rationale was that he had another 20-25 working years left (as a doctor) to rebuild what he would need. She never had any kind of high-powered job to build up a retirement fund, so this was fair.

Great for your mom. I am going to guess this was voluntary on your dads part. Although I agree with you that it sounds fair I don't think courts ever split it that way when contested. Savings and 501k is marital property...and in almost all cases if a judge gets involved it gets split 50/50.

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I also live in MA. The Dept of Revenue terminated my child support collection/payments (a whopping $51/wk) when my son turned 18. Wish I had looked into this further then...

There is so much confusion even within the same state about how it works. For instance, our attorney told us cs ends at age 18 or as soon as high school finishes.....or age 20 of the kid is taking a long time to finish high school. Xw was FURIOUS because she was told and believed it last for as long as their son was in any school. And another friend of mine who gets her cs paid through the state collection agency said she got a notice from them when her son was graduating high school asking if he was going on to college so they would know whether to stop cs or not.

 

But we have an expensive attorney who says it absolutely ends at 18/ or high school graduation....and I have found the state statue which says that too.

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This. My DH's salary just tripled in one year. If I divorced him, I would get $150 more a month (for a total of three kids) than I would have gotten when he barely made enough to pay the bills. The laws are not set up in any way shape or form to equalize the financial situations of the two households.

 

I think it varies widely depending on the state - things were not equalized at all for me.  When my xh left me, the state we lived in didn't care that I stayed home with kids, helped enable xh to graduate college (he never would have gone without me), that we had been married 18 years, or that he was cheating.  Once the marriage is over, each able bodied person is expected to support themselves (no alimony - I've heard of it there before, but it's very rare).  My parents hired a very good lawyer, she was very competent, but the judge in our case (a woman) took an instant dislike to me (maybe because I had been a stay-at-home-mom, I have no idea).  A lot of money was spent trying to get the best resolution possible, but I still had to buy him out of the equity in our house after he got all the 401K funds, and the child support wasn't that much.

 

I'm now in CA and it sounds like the laws here are drastically different.

Edited by KS_
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I think it varies widely depending on the state - things were not equalized at all for me. When my xh left me, the state we lived in didn't care that I stayed home with kids, helped enable xh to graduate college (he never would have gone without me), that we had been married 18 years, or that he was cheating. Once the marriage is over, each able bodied person is expected to support themselves (no alimony - I've heard of it there before, but it's very rare). My parents hired a very good lawyer, she was very competent, but the judge in our case (a woman) took an instant dislike to me (maybe because I had been a stay-at-home-mom, I have no idea). A lot of money was spent trying to get the best resolution possible, but I still had to buy him out of the equity in our house after he got all the 401K funds, and the child support wasn't that much.

 

I'm now in CA and it sounds like the laws here are drastically different.

That is terrible. Every time I hear a story like that it just makes me mad. But I know it is reality.

 

My XHs affair didn't factor into property division. The only it helped me with was strong arming him for sole custody because he didn't want his girlfriends to be deposed. Apparently the affairs could go to his fitness as a parent.

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That is terrible. Every time I hear a story like that it just makes me mad. But I know it is reality.

 

My XHs affair didn't factor into property division. The only it helped me with was strong arming him for sole custody because he didn't want his girlfriends to be deposed. Apparently the affairs could go to his fitness as a parent.

 

The affair(s) didn't affect my xh negatively at all...I don't think there would have been any way I could have gotten full custody, unless he was in jail or something like that.  I wouldn't have even taken it into the court system, but just wanted the state to dictate the child support (because the two of us weren't going to reach an agreement by ourselves).  But even that ended up going against me.  I guess there's even instances of charging the stay at home parent for not earning up to their potential (I have an engineering degree - I researched it a bit in the midst of everything, but have tried to forget most of that crap...). 

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This whole thread is really pissing me off  :cursing:  If this financial inequity in the divorce process is so rampant, why are the "men's rights" advocates so vocal that they're getting screwed all over the place? I don't know too many divorced women, but I surely don't know a single one who made out in the process.

 

I have a close family member whose divorce proceedings just took a turn for the very ugly, and I'm so worried for her :( Thankfully, she finally realized that being nice was not going to get her what she needed (instead it just seems to have give the ex some spark of hope for reconciliation--when that was dashed, he started threatening to ruin her), and she retained a shark of a lawyer. She's already had several of her assumptions sharply corrected (in her favor) in terms of what she should expect in her settlement. 

 

Why why WHY is divorce still like this for women?!!! Why haven't we come farther than this?

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This whole thread is really pissing me off :cursing: If this financial inequity in the divorce process is so rampant, why are the "men's rights" advocates so vocal that they're getting screwed all over the place? I don't know too many divorced women, but I surely don't know a single one who made out in the process.

 

I have a close family member whose divorce proceedings just took a turn for the very ugly, and I'm so worried for her :( Thankfully, she finally realized that being nice was not going to get her what she needed (instead it just seems to have give the ex some spark of hope for reconciliation--when that was dashed, he started threatening to ruin her), and she retained a shark of a lawyer. She's already had several of her assumptions sharply corrected (in her favor) in terms of what she should expect in her settlement.

 

Why why WHY is divorce still like this for women?!!! Why haven't we come farther than this?

The shift I saw was for fathers to get more time with their kids....and when they are decent fathers I am all for that. Of course doesn't really matter if I am for it, parents have rights even if they suck....so when the custody became more even suddenly the financial obligation of the father changed too. The thing is the financial distribution at divorce shouldn't be based upon children...it should be based upon the fact the marriage was a contract and one person is being dismissed because the other wanted someone younger and often the dismissed party doesn't even get what an employee would get as a severance package.

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It is when the income is $248,000.

 

His income is $138,000.  The OP also has income and is expected to provide some level of support for the child.  Back of the envelope math has the $2k/month being about right, and actually on the high end for a lot of places.

 

With that said, do not accept the 60/40 401K split. No no no no no.

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I hope that the OP gets what she needs.  

 

As the thread has moved on to the general topic of how men and women are treated during divorce: I will say that the (low level of) alimony that my mother received meant that she was not forced to rebuild her life after divorce.  She just scrimped and stewed for 35 years after I left home.  If she had not had enough to live on, she might have been forced to work, to come out of herself, to rebuild her life.  And it would have been easier on her children as well as healthier for her.

 

I think that short term alimony is a good thing: I am happily married but have built myself a (minor) career over the last six years since my husband was laid off.  Five or six years of alimony is a good back up to allow a newly-divorced person to do something similar.  Longer might be counter-productive, if the children are grown, to the long term wellbeing of the divorced former SAHM.

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I hope that the OP gets what she needs.  

 

As the thread has moved on to the general topic of how men and women are treated during divorce: I will say that the (low level of) alimony that my mother received meant that she was not forced to rebuild her life after divorce.  She just scrimped and stewed for 35 years after I left home.  If she had not had enough to live on, she might have been forced to work, to come out of herself, to rebuild her life.  And it would have been easier on her children as well as healthier for her.

 

I think that short term alimony is a good thing: I am happily married but have built myself a (minor) career over the last six years since my husband was laid off.  Five or six years of alimony is a good back up to allow a newly-divorced person to do something similar.  Longer might be counter-productive, if the children are grown, to the long term wellbeing of the divorced former SAHM.

 

I will be 55 years old when my ds graduates high school. I will lose 1000 per month.  When ds is 18 xh will be 56 and he will get another 1000K per month back in his pocket...to add to his already huge income.  It was the decision I made rather than live with a cheater. But it isn't fair. Marriage is really just a joke as far as providing any security.  

 

But that is ok.  I am happily remarried and I am still healthy enough to work even if it won't make me rich. And I do have a paid for home.

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I will be 55 years old when my ds graduates high school. I will lose 1000 per month. When ds is 18 xh will be 56 and he will get another 1000K per month back in his pocket...to add to his already huge income. It was the decision I made rather than live with a cheater. But it isn't fair. Marriage is really just a joke as far as providing any security.

 

But that is ok. I am happily remarried and I am still healthy enough to work even if it won't make me rich. And I do have a paid for home.

I was 50 when I went back to work, the same age as my mother when her marriage split up. I think that the income and self esteem that she would have gained by working would have been much more valuable to me than her presence all day at home through my teen years.

 

Child support is not alimony. Once a child is grown, the child support stops,unless there is a need for continuing support though university.

Edited by Laura Corin
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I was 50 when I went back to work, the same age as my mother when her marriage split up. I think that the income and self esteem that she would have gained by working would have been much more valuable to me than her presence all day at home through my teen years.

 

 

Maybe.  You probably weren't homeschooled though.

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I hope that the OP gets what she needs.

 

As the thread has moved on to the general topic of how men and women are treated during divorce: I will say that the (low level of) alimony that my mother received meant that she was not forced to rebuild her life after divorce. She just scrimped and stewed for 35 years after I left home. If she had not had enough to live on, she might have been forced to work, to come out of herself, to rebuild her life. And it would have been easier on her children as well as healthier for her.

 

I think that short term alimony is a good thing: I am happily married but have built myself a (minor) career over the last six years since my husband was laid off. Five or six years of alimony is a good back up to allow a newly-divorced person to do something similar. Longer might be counter-productive, if the children are grown, to the long term wellbeing of the divorced former SAHM.

I think it all depends on the particular circumstances.

 

I'm approaching forty, and will have minor children in my house for nearly two more decades (counting the one due next year). I've put way, way too much of my life into raising a large family to be able to jump back into the workforce with any hope of building up earning potential similar to that of Dh with years of experience.

 

I'm not expecting a divorce in my future, but if that were to happen I see a profound injustice in the spouse who has been out in the workforce all along continuing to reap the benefits of that when the decision for the other spouse to forego or give up a career in order to keep the joint household running and do the vast majority of the child rearing was a mutual one.

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I think it all depends on the particular circumstances.

 

I'm approaching forty, and will have minor children in my house for nearly two more decades (counting the one due next year). I've put way, way too much of my life into raising a large family to be able to jump back into the workforce with any hope of building up earning potential similar to that of Dh with years of experience.

 

I'm not expecting a divorce in my future, but if that were to happen I see a profound injustice in the spouse who has been out in the workforce all along continuing to reap the benefits of that when the decision for the other spouse to forego or give up a career in order to keep the joint household running and do the vast majority of the child rearing was a mutual one.

 

That's the hardest part - I could have had a good career, but chose to follow xh around as he pursued his career (moving a couple times), and the decision to have me stay at home and raise and homeschool our kids was a mutual one.  I never expected him to leave - at at 41 was woefully unprepared, but had a job and was working outside the home the day after he moved out (making minimum wage, though).

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Here you would get no child support for a child post high school and alimony doesn't exist. You would get 50% of all assets and all debts though. I am not sure how that works with KiwiSaver though but I can't see being allowed to stash stuff away in a retirement fund to get round the matrimonial property act.

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OP, I have worked as a mediator in the past, and would also urge you to get a good attorney to advocate for you.

 

Mediators are trained to be neutral: to ask questions of both sides, help them articulate what they want to have happen, and then ideally work to move both parties to a place of a resolution that they can both live with. There is not a lot of energy spent on what is fair or what is right, as long as both parties agree to the resolution.

 

You need a strong advocate to stand up for you and protect your interests - a mediator simply isn't going to do that.

 

I'm so sorry you're going through all this!

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This sounds like a terrible idea. Is your mediator an attorney?

 

Go to an attorney. It is generally not that expensive to negotiate and draft a separation agreement. If you and your stbx are talking through this without too much animosity, there is a good chance you can handle this with a separation agreement.

 

You need a very clear agreement. How will you choose a realtor? Who was responsible for maintenance and repairs to the home in the meantime? How will income and property taxes be handled? Who will carry insurance on the home while it is on the market? What happens if you can't sell the home? How would you decide on a fair asking price, and if the home is slow to sell, who has the power to lower the asking price? How exactly will the proceeds from the sale be distributed to pay debts? What happens to any money left after paying those debts? If the proceeds don't pay off all debt, who pays the balance? Who makes payments on those debts in the meantime, and does that person get credit for those payments?

 

These are just a few of the things you will need clarity on. And the alimony provisions may create another set of problems. You say a number of factors will determine alimony, but that creates the potential for a lot of fighting about various factors in the future. This is not something you want to have drafted by someone who is not very knowledgeable and experienced.

 

Edited to add that if you're going to be dividing a 401K, you will need a qualified domestic relations order. You will likely need an attorney for that anyway If you consult with an attorney, ask about his/her experience with QDROs.

Edited by Danestress
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