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Financial equality and independence may ease alimony discussions

Efforts to achieve wage equality make greater progress each year. There’s still work to be done, since an income gap still exists between the genders. On average, women earn only about 78 percent of what their husbands make. On the other hand, an increasing number of women now have larger incomes than their husbands. The changing times are forcing divorce courts to rethink traditional approaches to spousal and/or child support.

In Michigan, a number of factors determine one’s eligibility for alimony, as well as the amount. If one spouse put his or her career on hold for the sake of children, for example, an alimony award may provide relief while an individual works to restore his or her marketability and capacity to earn a competitive wage. Other alimony factors may include the length of the marriage, any special health or economic circumstances requiring extra support, and each spouse’s present financial situation and ability to work.

Regardless of which spouse has the greater income, it is important to communicate openly about financial expectations. If each individual had substantial assets before the marriage, a prenuptial agreement can avoid the commingling of those assets. Each spouse may also benefit from keeping a separate bank account. That way, each spouse’s contribution toward common expenses can be measured.

In the event of divorce, open communication may also help navigate through the potentially contentious issue of alimony. If the parties are able to reach an agreement, a lawyer can reduce that arrangement to a written agreement and present it to the court for approval.  A law firm with a comprehensive family law practice can help individuals proactively approach their marital relationship.

Source: Think Financially, “To Do List For Women Who Earn More Than Their Husbands,” Jeff Landers, Sept. 21, 2016

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