If you are at the point where you want out of your marriage, you are probably also at a point where you do not want to deal with your ex-spouse after the marriage is over. Here are some tips on how to avoid any future hassle in divorce.
Divorce can give you the freedom
Many people do not like the concept of divorce, but today most people agree that it is a good thing for people to have the option of leaving an unhappy marriage. In the past, an unhappy wife would often be completely trapped in a loveless or even abusive marriage. Divorce may not have been a legal option, and even if it was women often had limited economic options unless their ex-husband was ordered to pay support. By the same token, a husband could be trapped paying for a lifetime of alimony for an ex-wife he divorced decades ago.
Today, divorce is a much more fair institution than it was in the past. According to the Pew Research Center, back in the 1960s men were the only source of income in 70% of American households. That means that the vast majority of wives would struggle financially if they lost their husbands’ financial support. By the 2010s that number had almost flipped, and 60% of households had two wage earners. That means that in most marriages today, the wife is working and presumably more able to provide for herself financially after a divorce.
Don’t ride the alimony pony
Spousal support, also called alimony, has been falling out of favor for decades. Alimony requires one spouse, historically usually the husband, to provide ongoing support to his ex-wife, who was typically a homemaker with no means to support herself. As scholars have noted, alimony is typically an inflexible monthly payment that fails to account for the nuanced challenges in each ex-spouse’s life. For example, alimony would often lock an ex-husband in his job because if he made any changes he might not be able to keep up his support obligations. This ongoing hassle impacts the ex-spouse receiving alimony as well because her alimony is often terminated if she gets a job. She is also made reliant on a man she often has an unhealthy relationship with.
The trend in divorce is for courts to make the non-working or lesser earning spouse equal through property division. Many states allow judges to adjust the split of property to account for factors like each spouse’s future ability to support himself or herself. So, if you find yourself in a situation where you need your divorce settlement to help pay your living expenses moving forward, it is often best to ask for a greater split of the assets in one payment so you can walk away instead of dealing with the ongoing hassle of alimony. Similarly, do not rely on child support to pay your own living expenses. Make sure child support only goes to the kid’s needs, so once the kids become self-sufficient you no longer have to have financial conversations with your spouse.