When figuring your alimony request, don’t forget these common expenses

Alimony is still quite popular among divorcing couples here in Massachusetts. The Alimony Reform Act dictates how judges should base alimony decisions, in large part, on the length of a couple’s marriage — but a dependent spouse’s expenses are also a big factor.

Changing an existing divorce decree and alimony amounts may take some legal wrangling, and there’s no guarantee that a judge will grant you a hearing nor approve your request. If you forget some of your expenses, that can prove to be a financial disaster. That’s why you’ll want to think long and hard about your expenses before you ask for a specific amount of alimony.

Expenses that are commonly forgotten when requesting alimony

You may have difficulty assessing how much you regularly spend if you’re not in charge of the household finances. You may not realize how regular service tips and cash withdrawals, for example, add up. 

Another mistake that divorcing spouses make when documenting their expenses is failing to account for those yearly or twice-a-year expenses like taxes, insurance and other bills. 

A third expense that divorcing spouses commonly fail to account for when requesting alimony is how much they spend on gifts for family or friends. These may vary by occasion and person, but they’re part of your current lifestyle and should be considered. 

The fourth most commonly forgotten expenditure is the personal expenses someone may make using their business or corporate credit cards. Those generally have to be repaid, so you don’t want to overlook them.

Reaching an accurate accounting of your expenses

One of the best steps you can take to better understand your spending is keeping receipts documenting your expenses. You should retain credit or debit card receipts and your bank statements for a month or two to get a clearer picture. Tracking all your expenditures in a log can also be helpful.

Coping with the demise of your marriage is hard enough. Sorting out the financial side of things can be even more daunting. An attorney can provide guidance to ensure that you don’t place yourself in a financially vulnerable position down the road. 

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