Filing for a divorce is often enough of a difficult decision. Still, when you have children or when you are unable to work, you need to decide if filing for child support or spousal support is also necessary. While alterations to divorce agreements can sometimes be made, it is always easier to handle financial issues as early in the process as possible. Therefore to file for either, what do you need to do?
1. Know Your Jurisdiction
Different laws and mandates govern each state and municipality. Some states make the spousal and child support process relatively easy, and others make it quite challenging. Knowing the process ahead of filing can make a significant difference in the outcome because of preparation time.
2. Gather Financial Information
A judge will want to see the reasoning for providing an order for alimony or child support. Many judges will not have a problem allocating child support payments because there is an apparent shared responsibility. However, some judges may not find an order of spousal support necessary if the spouse can work and has an employment history. Make sure to discuss appropriate strategies with your attorney to give yourself the best chance at a successful support hearing.
3. Hire an Attorney
If you do not have a lawyer currently, do not waste any time hiring one now. Deciding to file for alimony and child support makes a divorce more difficult in most circumstances because it often leads to feelings of resentment and anger. Also, if you file for aid, then your spouse is likely to go on the defensive and hire an attorney if they do not already have one. You want the proceedings to be fair for both parties, which means having equal representation.
4. Keep Records
When you file for support, you want to demonstrate why you need financial assistance. Have a record of the money your spouse routinely provides. Make sure you have a reason for why you cannot offer equal monetary contributions and how losing the income will lead to significant lifestyle changes.
If the judge grants financial support, you will also want to keep accurate records of the money you receive. You are often responsible for the taxes on any income earned through supportive payments.
Divorce is a complicated process, but when spousal support and child support become part of the process, things can get messy quickly. Contact a local lawyer, like a child support lawyer in Gig Harbor, WA from Robinson & Hadeed Family Law, for help navigating the financial maze.