Divorce Settlement Tip #2: Work backwards from need
As mentioned, we’re not in the business of advising you how to practice divorce law—or any other type of law.
We are in the business of giving you ways to make your practice easier, more efficient, and stress-free.
Our first divorce settlement tip recommended that when calculating spousal support, you start with available cash, or disposable (after-tax) income.
Our second tip has to do with your goal. In any divorce action, you’re meeting one another’s needs—defined as the means to maintain each party’s lifestyle as closely as possible to the marital lifestyle.
This is a two-step process. First, you assess each party’s needs.
Did we say “each party?” Yes, we did. See, it doesn’t do you any good to focus on what your client WANTS to pay or receive. You’ve got to get the other side to agree, too. So for a better success rate, start with each party’s needs.
How do you do this? Ah, here’s another tip. In this context, “need” is synonymous with “budget.” Here’s where you look at your financial affidavits (for example, “case information statement” in NJ; “income and expense statements” in PA; “affidavit of financial information” in AZ; and “statement of net worth” in NY), and see what each party’s weekly and monthly budgets are. These are hard-core essentials, versus luxury items.
The second step? Work backwards, computing a settlement amount based on these needs.
Using Divorce Financials Software, our leading family law software, you take this need amount and click on “Alimony based on receiver’s budget.”
Then, you can compare five different scenarios (five different budgets) and see how they play out in terms of the real world impact of settlement.
Divorce Financials generates modeling. Not only can you then discuss each scenario with your client, you can also bring the page of scenarios with you to the negotiations table, and see immediately what the impact is of a given offer on your client’s circumstances.
To learn more about our divorce software for attorneys, call us at 800 905 7638.