Are you a stay-at-home-Mom who is worried about your upcoming divorce? Are you concerned you won’t be able to obtain the spousal support you need to meet your expenses?
Our legal team can help. We’ve helped many clients secure their futures by obtaining fair spousal support settlements. We’re ready to offer the kind of tough negotiation and unwavering litigation skills that it takes to protect your interests.
Should a stay at home mom get a job before a divorce?
Even if you have a job you will probably earn less than your spouse if you’ve been out of the workforce for some time. You may well still qualify for spousal support, especially in a high net worth divorce wherein the lifestyles between you and your spouse are likely to be radically different if no support is paid. This can be detrimental to your relationship to your children. Judges don’t like to see that, so there is still quite a bit of room to negotiate.
Getting a job may indeed mean receiving less support, but it may mean more peace of mind for you, especially if there could be an issue with enforcing support, or if you want to keep legal bills low. It can show a judge that you’re not simply attempting to take advantage of your ex, and can send the same message to your ex, making him more likely to negotiate.
We can also work with your spouse to arrange for a lump sum payment instead, which can give you a head start financially, or negotiate for ownership of an income bearing asset which can supplement your job and help you keep your life together.
Everyone’s situation is different, of course, and we’re happy to go over yours before you begin any job hunting. It’s always wise to consult with a lawyer before making any major moves in any divorce.
How can a SAHM ensure they get the appropriate amount of spousal support?
Gather every scrap of financial documentation you can find prior to meeting with your a lawyer. This includes checking and savings account statements, retirement account or pension statements, title deeds, debt statements, insurance policies, business profit and loss statements, tax returns, and any other financial document you can think of.
If you are the one planning the divorce, it’s helpful if you can do this before your spouse knows you intend to act, as this can make it harder for him to hide assets. If you’re the one that’s been blindsided, let us know. We will watch for indications that your spouse is hiding assets and will employ forensic accountants to help if necessary.
If you have a joint bank account, ask your lawyer how much you can withdraw before closing the account. It will be necessary for you to have your own bank account from now on.
How much spousal support can you qualify for?
Every case is different. There are no federally or provincially mandated spousal support amounts. Federal spousal support guidelines do exist, but there is no law which says they must be followed.
The formula calculates the length of your relationship, the ages of both parties, the amount of money each party makes, tax credits, and the number of children.
The guidelines offer high end and low end formulas both for couples with minor children and without minor children. Often, these figures serve only as a starting point for negotiations. However, if your case does go to trial you can usually expect the judge to stay somewhere within these figures.
Often, we use software programs to run the formulas for us, as they can be quite complex. Your lawyer will go over the best and worst case scenarios so that you know what is realistic in your specific case.
How long will you be eligible for spousal support?
The length of spousal support is also negotiable. For the most part, spousal support will be awarded for 1 year to ½ year for every year you were together. Thus, if you were together for 10 years, then you can expect 5 to 10 years of spousal support.
If you can take your age plus the number of years you were together and get a number larger than 65 then spousal support may be paid indefinitely. However, you can’t “double dip:” if you are getting paid out of your spouse’s pension then spousal support may be reduced or eliminated in the years this is happening.
Sometimes our clients choose to avoid a lengthy spousal support payment in favor of accepting a large lump sum that they can invest on their own. There are also cases where it’s more advantageous to take control of an income-bearing asset than it is to accept a monthly child support payment. We’ll go over your options when we look into your case.
How does child support impact spousal support?
The maximum that will ever be paid if you do not have children will result in an equalization of incomes. When you have children and child support, then this is all put together in a single “maintenance” payment.
Child support results in the stay at home Mom receiving 40% to 46% of the disposable income after taxes, deductions, and child care expenses to the SAHM. Thus your spousal support payment may be lower but your overall maintenance payment may be higher.
Different custody arrangements can also impact your monthly maintenance payment.
Get Help Today
The team at Merchant Law Calgary Bowness has over 20 years of experience helping SAHMs obtain spousal support arrangements they can live on and with. We’re especially adept at handling the complexities of high net worth divorces.
We’re responsive and empathetic. We care about you, your needs, and your future. You can trust us to treat you with respect and kindness throughout the process.
If you sacrificed your career for your husband and your children and are now afraid that you’ll be left penniless, call (403) 237-7777 to schedule an appointment with one of our highly qualified divorce lawyers.