Permanent maintenance or spousal support formulas have been in effect since January 25, 2016.  One formula is used when child support is required; the other is used when there are no minor children.

Unfortunately, especially when a long marriage is being dissolved, the maintenance “payor” (term used in the formula) may become resentful and initially take the position that he/she refuses to consider maintenance payments.  The classic position taken by the “payor” is that his/her spouse is capable of self-support.  In addition, the argument continues, there are other benefits like equitable distribution of property and retirement/pension accounts that will allow the recipient to “live comfortably.”

These are all legitimate factors that need to be included in the negotiating of an Agreement that will work for both parties. The fact remains, however, that if the parties elect the traditional legal course for settlement, a judge, doubtless, would award spousal support based on the maintenance calculations required in the recent legislation.

Therefore, the parties need to circumvent emotions and recognize reality.  Mediation affords each an opportunity to create an Agreement that can lessen the impact of a judicial award, yet provide income for a modest period of time while each builds stability in their new unpredictable futures.

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Image: Susanne Nilsson on Flickr. Used with Creative Commons license.