RI Alimony - Mistakes To Avoid

RI Alimony - Mistakes To Avoid

Mistakes to avoid during Rhode Island alimony negotiations

Need help during your Rhode Island alimony negotiations? Rhode Island family law attorney Paul Ferns is here to help you avoid common mistakes during alimony negotiations.

No one likes negotiating financial arrangements during a divorce. But if you’ve been out of work for a while, sometimes you need a safety net to get back on your feet. Alimony can help you receive vital education or help cover your living expenses while you look for a new job.

Unfortunately, many divorced individuals don’t receive the alimony payments they need–simply because they don’t know how to negotiate for them. That’s where we can help. Here are some of the top mistakes to avoid during alimony negotiations, and what to do instead.

What is Rhode Island alimony?

According to the Rhode Island Supreme Court, "Alimony is a rehabilitative tool intended to provide temporary support until a spouse is self-sufficient, and is based purely on need." Alimony is usually paid in monthly or weekly increments. Although, lump-sum payments aren’t unheard of. While this differs from child support in RI, frequently they are negotiated together

Is Rhode Island alimony tax deductible?

As of 2018, Rhode Island divorce laws state that receiving spouses don’t have to report alimony payments on their tax returns. For paying spouses, alimony is not a tax deduction.

How alimony is calculated?

When calculating Rhode Island alimony payments, the court will look at a number of factors. Some of these include:
  • Length of the marriage
  • Reason for divorce
  • The income level or potential earning ability for both spouses
  • Standard of living both spouses enjoyed during the marriage
  • The age of both spouses
  • Physical and mental health of both spouses
  • The marital or assets that each spouse brought to the marriage

Generally, the court will honor any alimony arrangement that you and your ex-spouse can agree on, so long as it doesn’t harm any minor children involved in the divorce. However, if you and your ex-spouse can’t come to an agreement on your own, the court will have to decide for you.

Unfortunately, Rhode Island is not a generous state when it comes to alimony. In RI, alimony is not automatically awarded to a lower-earning or unemployed spouse. You’ll have to prove in court that you need financial assistance, which can be easier said than done. Usually, it’s in your best interest to work out alimony payments through negotiations outside the courtroom. Here are some key mistakes to avoid during RI alimony negotiations.

Mistake #1: Settling for an unideal form of payment

You can receive alimony payments in several different methods over several different time periods. Each comes with a distinct set of advantages and disadvantages. It’s important to consider your situation carefully before making a decision.

If you’re trying to get out of an unpleasant situation as quickly as possible, a short-term or lump sum Rhode Island alimony payment may sound perfect. But what if you can’t find ample employment before the money from your alimony payments runs out?

On the other hand, long-term payments can offer added security over months or years. However, if you find employment sooner than you thought, or start co-habiting with someone else, you might be ineligible to receive the remainder of your alimony payments. This can leave you with less money than you would have received have with short-term payments.

It’s important to discuss your financial situation with your Rhode Island lawyer or financial advisor so they can advise you on the best payment plan for your situation.

Mistake #2: Not having a clear goal

This brings us to our second mistake–not having a clear goal in mind for your alimony payments. How will you use the money from your alimony payments? Will it go towards rent or groceries as you adjust to life on your own? Towards educational expenses, if you need to go back to school? Towards medical bills, if you struggle with a disability or health condition?

Have a clear financial goal in mind for your alimony payments and seek an appropriate amount during negotiations. Remember, the goal should never be to punish your ex-spouse.

Mistake #3: Not having ample knowledge of your financial situation

If you always allowed your spouse to handle money matters during your marriage, you might not have an accurate assessment of your household finances. If that’s the case, now is the time to get involved in your finances. Make copies of financial records and bank statements from joint accounts.

If you believe your spouse may try to sell marital assets without your consent, you can attempt to file a restraining order in Rhode Island court. Keep a close eye out for any transactions in your joint bank accounts or brokerage accounts. If your ex-spouse tries to hide any income sources or assets in an attempt to get out of alimony payments, you’ll have a record of the situation.

This also applies to the paying spouse. Never attempt to conceal or sell marital assets to avoid alimony payments. Sneaky divorce tactics like this do little to mitigate your risk of higher payments. Alimony is calculated based on your income, not your net worth. Failing to disclose assets during divorce negotiations can also open you up to penalties and sanctions. Always be honest and list all your marital assets and income sources during divorce proceedings.

Mistake #4 Not considering your mental health

Trying to negotiate for alimony can be an uphill battle. Divorce is an incredibly stressful time in anyone’s life, especially if you’re worried about your financial situation going forward. It can be easy to neglect your mental health. Seek support from family, friends, or a professional counselor to cope with the difficult emotions you might be experiencing. When your mind isn’t clouded by stress or worry, you can make more capable decisions on your RI Alimony Finances.

Mistake #5 Negotiating without a Rhode Island alimony mediator

When tensions run high during a divorce, it’s easy for negative emotions to cloud your thoughts. It’s hard to remain impartial when your life, livelihood, and financial needs are on the negotiation table. To help you see the whole picture, it’s helpful to have an impartial mediator at your side during divorce negotiations.

A mediator can help you stay calm and focused during proceedings. They can help you and your ex-spouse see the forest through the trees and keep negotiations running smoothly.

Who are the top divorce lawyers in RI for negotiating alimony payments?

If you need help negotiating alimony, call one of the best divorce lawyers in Warwick RI, Paul Ferns. Attorney Ferns treats all parties involved in a divorce with respect and courtesy. He can ease tensions in a stressful situation and keep negotiations running smoothly. If you have questions on Rhode Island alimony qualifications, amounts, or any other related alimony topic, call noted RI alimony attorney Paul Ferns today for a free consultation.

Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.