Creative Ways to Determine Post-Divorce Cash Flow

By Allison Fredrickson | Family & Divorce Law

Avoid Litigation and an Open-Ended Outcome

Spousal maintenance is one of the most common litigated issues in a divorce and is the most prevalent issue brought before Judges for post-divorce modification purposes. However, this matter does not always need to go before a Judge. Mediation is an alternative method for determining this issue post-divorce. Mediating Spousal Maintenance can:

  1. Provide a comfortable space for people to discuss their specific needs, financial goals and abilities.
  2. Assist in making a reasonable economic plan when they are separate families.
  3. Come up with creative agreements tailored to specific needs as to amount and duration for spousal maintenance.
  4. Provide some insight into how a specific court or judge might decide a spousal maintenance issue, based on what they have seen, even though they cannot give absolutes because there is no spousal maintenance calculator.

Family Law Software to Run Cash Flow Scenarios

At Eckberg Lammers, we use our Family Law Software to determine if maintenance should be ordered in a divorce or if a modification is appropriate in a post-decree matter. Family Law Software will generate tax consequences, incorporate budgets and ultimately provide a reliable ‘cash flow’ projection so everyone can visualize their financial future instead of guessing what it might look like.

It is hard to understand the cash flow that each party will have until you run tax scenarios, considering write offs for real estate or child dependency exemptions.

The mediator’s job is to:

a. Help the parties review data that they both provide, including post-divorce income and expenses.
b. Listen to the parties and their future financial goals.
c. Generate some scenarios using Family Law Software that reflect a fair allocation of net available cash.

Keep in mind, “fair” doesn’t necessarily mean an equal 50/50 amount of after-tax income. The courts are not consistent in their spousal maintenance decisions and there is a large gray area in the law. This means, going to trial on this issue is not only costly but highly unpredictable and likely to end in a result that neither party is happy with. Fear of the unknown is what makes spousal maintenance discussions and settlements so difficult. Our mediators work with parties to see in black and white what their financial future may look like.


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