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Collaborative law may be best for determining spousal support

It is no secret that divorce can be an emotionally draining and upsetting time for any spouse. Arguments can arise over any and all marital legal issues including property division, spousal support, visitation rights, child support, and child custody. One of the most important aspects of a divorce is to plan for financial stability. While this may be obtained by going through the courts, it may not always, as some experts believe, be in an individual's best interest.

According to some experts, many states are proposing legislation that will end alimony, or spousal support, as we know it. Though spousal support is gender neutral, it is starting to disappear from some states. Experts state the extent of alimony payments, which may be vital support for the newly divorced, are determined by law and a judge's discretion when the divorce proceeds through the court system. On the other hand, if the divorce goes through a collaborative practice, then the extent of spousal support is only limited to what the parties can agree on. This may be the best option for many parting couples.

Under collaborative law, each party sits down with an unbiased attorney to figure out life after divorce. The process does not seek to place blame on either party for the marriage's end, but instead seeks a peaceful resolution to the marriage. An experienced collaborative practice attorney can spur the discussion so the couple can reach an agreement that satisfies each party's best interest. This way, the parties avoid airing their dirty laundry before a court and the marriage can end on their terms rather than those imposed by a judge.

Many believe that alimony should be used to support additional income or to support a newly divorced individual while they obtain an education. Either way, the most important thing is the individual gets an amount of spousal support that is fair. A collaborative law attorney can help ensure that certain factors, including the length of the marriage and the emotional and financial contribution of each party, are taken into account when the parties come to an agreement.

Source: Fox Business, "How to Financially Readjust for Post-Divorce Life," Andrea Murad, Aug. 2, 2013

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