I am struggling to understand why my wife is making the future alimony waiver such a big issue. We have been married for nine years and have three children. We are both teachers and do well as far as teachers go but that is partly because we tutor, coach and work at summer camps. We are trying to navigate the divorce process on our own because neither of us has extra money to pay lawyers.
I thought I read the alimony law correctly — that if one of us were to get alimony it would end after approximately 7.5 years. Our incomes are within $20,000 of each other so I am not sure why she thinks future alimony should be left open. It seems like she would only be entitled to about $6,500 per year if I continue to do all the extra work.
Am I misunderstanding the alimony guidelines or are we both just overthinking this?
Just because there is no alimony paid now does not mean things won’t change in the future warranting such an order. One of you could get sick and be unable to work; one of your children could get sick preventing one of you from working; one of you could have a career change and suddenly make significantly more money. It is hard to predict the future as you are signing an agreement today.
Take a step back and think about this from your wife’s perspective. You are both smart people and she probably also read the child support and alimony laws. Right now, neither of you qualifies for alimony from the other because, from the sound of it, your combined earnings are within the amount to be considered for child support only. For the alimony durational limit calculation, the years run concurrently with the years in which child support is paid. Seven and a half years from now, you still have three unemancipated children hence no alimony unless there is a change in someone’s career with significantly increased earnings. Meaning realistically, neither of you will ever qualify for alimony. While you are scratching your head trying to figure out why she wants a safety net in place that will probably never be used, recognize the safety net protects you too.
This issue is not something to fight over. Agree to waive past and present alimony and leave future alimony up for modification if there is a material change in circumstances. You can write into the agreement the durational limit on future alimony, if any, so there is no misunderstanding.