Q: My Wife for 24 years wants a divorce. She worked for the first 4 years of our marriage and recently for 3 years.
I have been the bread winner for entire marriage and have built up a significant savings while married. While I expect to give a percentage of my salary for alimony and savings, she is asking for 50% of all our assets including savings and 40% of my salary. She is willing to compromise and we have agreed to mediation. Is this a fair deal for me? I would be satisfied paying 30% of my net salary and 30% of savings. I would be willing to give her alimony until early retirement age. I am ok doing this since we have been married over 20 years.
A: It could be, but we don't know your entire financial situation, so cannot tell you. Although you both have supposedly agreed to mediation, that does not mean she or you won't talk to one of your friends, and mediation could go out the window.
A: Thank you for the opportunity to respond to your question. Unfortunately it cannot be answered without more specific information.
Generally, in the context of equitable distribution, anything that is legally or beneficially acquired during the term of the marriage regardless of whose name it may be titled in goes into a pot to decide how the property is divided. The term of the marriage is defined as the date of the marriage to the date the divorce complaint is filed in the court. It also includes assets and liabilities such as marital debt. You then have to decide how it is divided. Certain assets are split 50/50 if acquired during the marriage. Things like equity in a home, bank accounts, 401Ks and things of this nature. If pension benefits are at issue a person will get their martial share which is a percentage amount based on the number of years during the accrual of the pension that the parties were married. Sometimes people choose to take more of one asset and less of another depending on their interest. For example, one may take less of a bank account if they can buy the other person out of the home if they wish to keep the marital home.
Alimony is based on various factors that are connected to the marital lifestyle. The martial lifestyle starts to be defined by what is called a case information statement that both sides fill out and shows how much is needed for each party to maintain a lifestyle that is reasonably comparable to the martial lifestyle, and which is referred to as the person’s need. If they do not have enough to cover their need, the next question becomes does the other person have an ability to pay some amount to meet the person’s need. Other factors like the age of the parties, length of the marriage, health issues, giving up one’s career, capacity to earn, are all factors that will be analyzed before setting an alimony amount.
So as you can see, it is a bit more complicated, and a definitive answer cannot be given just on the facts provided here. Please seek a qualified family law attorney who will be able to consult with you and get a better understanding of your circumstances in order to provide a more complete answer.
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