If you have met with a family law attorney and determined that you will likely receive a spousal support award in your case, then please be prepared to provide the following information. This information will be used to help determine the right amount of spousal support for you. Although you should always run this past your family law attorney, it may be immensely helpful if you copied and pasted the information below into the computer format of your choice (Word, e-mail…etc.), completed the information and then sent it to your family law attorney.
- Are you currently working?
- Are you working to your fullest capacity?
- If you are not working to your fullest capacity, why not?
- What will it take, and how long will it take, to restore you to your fullest, working capacity, if ever?
- Do you require retraining or education?
- Was your present or future earning capacity impaired by periods of unemployment to give you time to devote to domestic duties?
- If so, how long were these periods of unemployment?
- Did you contribute to the attainment of education, training, career position or license of the other party?
- If so, how long ago did the other party obtain the education, training, career position or license?
- What is the ability of the other party to pay spousal support taking into account his or her earning capacity, earned and unearned income, assets, and debts?
- What are your needs based on the standard of living established during the marriage? There are a number of forms and documents one can use to establish the marital standard of living. For cases in middle income families, the standard Income and Expense Declaration may be sufficient. For cases in higher income families, you may need to retain a forensic accountant to review your bank, financial and credit card statements to determine the marital standard of living. These forensic accountants typically have marital standard of living forms that you can fill out. The link for the Income and Expense Declaration is below. Your attorney should be able to provide you with a marital standard of living form.
- The debts and assets of each party, including his or her separate property.
- The length of the marriage.
- Your ability to engage in gainful employment without interfering with taking care of your children.
- The age and health of both parties.
- Any documented history of domestic violence by either of you.
- Any criminal convictions by either of you against the other.
- Anything else you want the Court to consider in awarding you spousal support.
This is in no way meant to be an exhaustive list, but it is a substantial start. I would like for all of my family law clients, where spousal support is at issue, to complete this list and send it to me as soon as possible.
If this list overwhelms you and you do not know where to start, then make an appointment with your family law attorney and he or she should be able to swiftly guide you through it. However, if you are trying to keep costs down in your case then do the best you can to complete this on your own.
As an aside, it takes the Court a few months to set a hearing for spousal support and, for that matter, child support if both are at issue in your case. Therefore, you need to plan accordingly with your family law attorney as to how you will pay your monthly expenses while waiting for your Court date. Pre-divorce planning will be immensely helpful for you to plan out, financially, how you will cover your expenses during this time.
This material is provided for educational purposes only. Providing this information does not establish an attorney/client relationship. None of the information contained in this blog should be acted upon without first consulting with an attorney. Should you have questions about the content of this blog, please arrange to discuss via a consultation.