The issue of spousal support, especially when involving highly disparate incomes of a separating couple, is one of the most challenging areas of the divorce process. Underlying the complexity are fundamental notions of “fairness” that may significantly differ for each spouse. To successfully deal with the issue of spousal support in a way that minimizes negative drag for both parties, it is essential that spousal support be addressed with deliberation and mindfulness, ideally working together with both parties outside of the typical adversarial framework.
For purposes of discussion, we will assume a scenario involving a significantly higher earning husband and a marriage exceeding twenty years with no dependent children. Husband worked throughout the marriage up to a current income level of $250,000/year. Wife has made decisions at important junctures during the marriage that the couple believed were important to child rearing as well as ensuring that household-related issues were adequately addressed given Husband’s professional commitments and is proceeding forward with minimal marketable work experience.
In the typical adversarial unfolding of a divorce, the husband is initially confronted with temporary spousal support demands along with the divorce petition or response. At that point, staring at a written document in isolation, what he is likely to see will be limited to the bottom-line demand that he pay 30-40% of his salary to his soon-to-be ex-wife with no end date in sight. Suddenly, despite his hard work and sacrifices over the years, he will be taking home significantly less pay every month.
From the wife’s vantage point, however, it is not difficult to understand the fear and uncertainty that she faces moving forward into the future. Now in her late 40’s, with little marketable work experience accumulated over the past two decades, she wonders how she will be able to move forward in a way that anywhere approximates the life to which she has grown accustomed.
Pervasive social conditioning colors the respective outlooks of both the husband and wife in this scenario. The wife may well feel that her contributions to the community have been generally devalued by society at large, and possibly by her soon-to-be ex-husband in particular. Similarly, the husband may consider it unfair to have to give almost half his pay to his wife when she is not “gainfully employed” as this term is generally interpreted in contemporary society.
This stark difference in conditioning may be just the tip of the iceberg of how differently the husband and wife approach this situation. A highly conscious, holistic and mindful approach is essential in helping each party gain a felt appreciation for the outlook of the other, including underlying conditioning that cannot be ignored.
Bringing a holistic, mindful approach to the issue of spousal support requires both parties to work directly with the attorney, usually at the same time. The holistic lawyer provides each party a full opportunity to articulate his or her fears and concerns. It is only when both parties feel thoroughly understood the concrete financial terms are discussed.
Additionally, once a spousal support agreement is reached, there can negotiated particular protocols to see that monthly payments are both given and received in a mindful, conscious way so as to ensure that both parties feel sufficiently appreciated and valued and have not lost sight of the underlying conditioning, fears, etc. discussed at the front end of this process.
To learn more about mindful spousal support, contact Holistic Lawyer Michael Lubofsky either by calling (415) 508-6263, or by visiting http://www.Holistic-Lawyer.com.