This week I'm writing a series of blog postings on mediating your alimony agreement. Yesterday I wrote about how alimony is supposed to work.
Alimony Solutions Through Divorce Mediation
Although alimony can be emotional, it is also an area that greatly rewards creativity when crafting settlement solutions. Below are just a few of the custom solutions a mediator can help divorcing spouses reach to resolve alimony:
Alimony buyouts – In many cases, parties can avoid alimony payments by adjusting the division of marital assets to provide the would-be alimony recipient with a larger share of assets in exchange for waiving the right to receive alimony in the future. Negotiating a fair buyout is an area where an experienced mediator can assist. Calculating buyouts often involves examining how much alimony a spouse could theoretically receive under the ARA, then generating a buyout based on the risk/reward between the certainty of a lump sump buyout and less certain alimony payments made over many years.
Child Support vs. Alimony – In cases with unemancipated children, child support and alimony are often competing issues. Depending on how much alimony a spouse could be theoretically entitled to under the ARA, versus how much a party may receive under the Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines, many mediated divorce agreements include custom solutions that balance alimony and child support in the most advantageous way possible.
Tax Deductibility – Starting in 2019, alimony will no longer be tax deductible for the paying party. The loss of the deduction will have a significant impact on alimony negotiations – and also creates a race to the finish for spouses seeking to take advantage of the deduction before 2018 ends.
Divorce mediation is uniquely suited to resolving alimony issue because mediation is designed to overcome strong negative emotions, while focusing on creating custom solutions that fit the real-world needs and interests of each spouse. Despite the emotional weight, alimony issues are often best resolved through creative settlements in which each party trades the uncertainty of litigation for a predictable compromise.
If you or someone you know could benefit from assistance in decision making during a divorce, contact Falmouth Mediation at 508-566-4159 for a free, no-obligation, private, confidential consultation. We will be happy to discuss the key details of your situation, address any concerns, and help you decide if divorce mediation would be beneficial.