Getting a divorce is stressful, but it's even more stressful if you rely on your partner for financial support and you aren't sure how you are going to survive financially after the divorce. If you're in this situation, there are a number of things you can do, with the help of your separation and divorce attorney, to increase your spousal maintenance payments. Try these tips.
1. Make Sure the Courts Know About All Income Sources
Generally, spousal maintenance or alimony is based on how much the other spouse earns. It's easy to account for wages, but if your ex has commission, dividends from investments, business income that is not on the books, or other sources of income that could be hidden, it's important to ensure that the courts know about this.
Talk with your lawyer about whether or not you need a forensic accountant or even a private investigator to unearth hidden sources of income.
2. Provide Proof That You Were Reliant on Your Spouse for Support
The courts make decisions about spousal support based on whether or not your spouse was responsible for your support. If you were both equally responsible for the family's financial upkeep, you may not qualify for any spousal support. Be prepared to prove to the courts that you were reliant on your spouse.
3. Argue That You Supported the Family Business
If you have a family business, you need to make sure that gets split fairly during the divorce, but on top of that, you may need to take steps to prove how you contributed to the business. In particular, if your spouse was the only one to run the business, he or she may argue that he or she is entitled to full ownership and all income.
In that case, you need to prove how you supported the family (taking care of children, cooking, etc) while your spouse was focused on the business. Then, based on that, you may demand a stake in the business or extra spousal maintenance.
4. Tie in Child Support Payments
Are you taking primary custody of the children? If so, you may be able to tie in child support with spousal maintenance payments. Even if you and your ex have split custody, you may want to argue that your children need to maintain a relatively equal quality of living at both parents homes, and because of that, you need higher support payments.
5. Hire a Quality Divorce and Separation Lawyer
To help make all of the above arguments, you need a lawyer who is experienced with this realm of law. Contact a separation and divorce attorney to learn more.