In my last blog, I discussed how a custody dispute could have been better handled through mediation. Now let’s take a look at how mediations can work to a couple’s advantage in a real-life spousal support matter.

A Complex Financial Picture for Both Parties

A husband and wife came to me for mediation. The wife was an executive at the world’s largest bicycle manufacturing company, earning well into the six figures. The husband earned significantly less. Married fifteen years, they had one child.

This very financially savvy couple had multiple assets, no debts, lived within their means during marriage, and developed a comfortable amount of wealth. Both parties wanted to know: How much do I have to pay for spousal support (or how much can I receive) and for how long?


Litigation Can Potentially Complicate Things Further

The law states that for any marriage that lasts ten years or more, spousal support is until death or remarriage – this seems pretty straightforward, but what could have happened in litigation? 

  • Every line item used to calculate spousal support would have been, and usually is, disputed – this is expensive because there are many line items.
  • There is no guarantee these days that being married for ten years or more gets you spousal support forever. 
  • Hiring experts to testify about the other party’s ability and opportunity to work, which is often disputed in spousal support litigation, is expensive.
  • Modifications to the spousal support amount can get litigated and is also expensive.

What Happened in Mediation?

The couple was able to agree to a non-modifiable lump sum amount of spousal support. This was good for both parties because it eliminated the risk that the issue would ever be litigated again for purposes of modification.

But even better, we were able to structure the deal to avoid significant tax implications by awarding the lump sum amount to the husband as a property transfer, as opposed to a spousal support amount.

The whole thing cost them approximately $6,000. Had they litigated the matter, it would have easily, in my opinion, cost them upwards of $80K. 


The Takeaway

If you need to get divorced, be financially savvy and explore mediation as an option, as opposed to litigation.


Need to Know More About Spousal Support?

If you need to know more about a spousal support issue, contact Park Family Law. Whether you need an experienced mediator to amicably and efficiently settle your case or an aggressive litigator to get you the best result in court, Park Family Law can assist you every step of the way.