5 Reasons to Settle Spousal Support with Mediation

Rarely is there an issue that causes more divide between soon-to-be ex-spouses than that of spousal support. Even with child support you have some common ground, but with spousal support there’s always one who wants to get and one who doesn’t want to give (or at least not give as much). And court litigation only seems to make the process more adversarial. What can you do instead? Mediate. Here’s why.

What Factors into Spousal Support

Unlike in child support, there often aren’t preset formulas to help determine spousal support. And in some states, the spousal support formula is used as a guideline or starting point, rather than a hard-and-fast end point.  Ultimately, it’s left to the judge’s discretion, but the court typically determines whether spousal support should be paid, how much and for how long based on factors such as these:

  • Income and earning capacity of each spouse
  • Educational level of each spouse
  • Age of each spouse
  • Physical and mental health condition of each spouse
  • Length of marriage
  • Whether one spouse has been out of the job market for a significant length of time
  • Whether one spouse has parental responsibilities that prevent them from working

Benefits of Spousal Support Mediation

The mediation process is much different than court litigation. Here you and your ex agree to work with a trained mediator who acts as a neutral third party to negotiate a mutual agreement on spousal support. They won’t decide the issue for you like the court, rather they’ll help you to brainstorm solutions and guide you in communicating more effectively with each other. Specific benefits include:

  1. Reducing uncertainty – Mediation gives you control over the process because no agreement will be made unless you both sign off on it. By entering mediation you’re agreeing to work collaboratively with the understanding that compromise will be necessary, otherwise you’re back to having a judge decide. So, it’s in your benefit to make it work.
  2. Transparency – While the goal of any spousal support agreement is to allow you both to keep a comparable standard of living after divorce, the courts only know what your lawyers present. As such you’re usually left bartering numbers somewhat arbitrarily. In mediation, you’ll know each other’s individual earnings, assets and liabilities and will be able to review budgets to create a solution that takes into account each of your concerns and interests.
  3. Customized approach – The courts also don’t have the time to delve fully into your individual circumstances. Working with a mediator, you can develop an individualized plan that works best for your situation. For example, you may want to pay more now for your ex to finish their degree and then pay less after. 
  4. Less time and expense – Time is money, especially when it comes to lawyer fees.  So mediation is often a less expensive route. Not to mention avoiding multiple court appearances arguing over a spousal support agreement that, in the end, you or your ex aren’t happy with. We’ve found that when this is the case, the paying party is less likely to stick with the agreement long-term!  Parties who reach agreements through compromise
  5. More convenience – You may not realize that mediation can be done online for even more convenience and flexibility. For example, our services are 100 percent virtual which can help reduce the tension when discussing sensitive topics such as spousal support. Plus, who wants to be in the room with their ex anyway, right?

Interested in spousal support mediation? Learn more about our online mediation services by contacting our experienced team today!

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