Unlike some states, Nebraska family courts do not use specific alimony calculators to determine spousal support in a divorce. Instead, the Court will weigh several factors, including:
- The duration of the marriage
- The current financial resources of each spouse
- The contribution of each spouse to the marriage (child care and education, home maintenance, etc.)
- The ability of each spouse to be gainfully employed
Whether your divorce is headed for a courtroom or mediation, here are some tips on how to effectively negotiate alimony:
Consider your budget. Before you determine the alimony amount you think you need — or believe you are entitled to — you first need to have a firm grasp on all your post-divorce budget. It is not unusual for one spouse to want to remain in the family home while the other spouse wants to sell and split and proceeds. If you want to keep your house, you need to consider whether or not that will be financially practical for you. Before determining the amount of alimony you want to request, you will need to consider the size of your monthly mortgage, and the other monthly expenses you will have after the divorce is finalized.
Consider taxes. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act passed in late 2017 stipulates that for all divorce agreements entered into after Dec. 31, 2018, an ex-spouse who receives alimony will no longer have to declare it as income and pay taxes on it. The ex-spouse paying alimony will no longer be able to deduct it from his or her federal income taxes. In short, this change in the federal tax law effectively shifts the tax burden of alimony from the recipient to the payer. If you are the spouse who will be paying alimony, you will need to take this new tax change into consideration and should talk over the ramifications with your financial advisor.
Consider the legal intent of alimony. Permanent alimony is rare today; instead, the courts view alimony as a temporary means of support to help one spouse transition to a new life independent of an ex-spouse. Alimony is not meant to penalize bad behavior by one spouse nor is it awarded in order to equalize incomes between two spouses.
Regardless of whether you’re the payor or the recipient, talk with your Koenig│Dunne family law attorneys to decide the best way to protect your interests.