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Past financial support does not eliminate future support

People have a lot of misconceptions about financial support in divorce. They often feel like the payments the court orders are unfair or put them in a tough position. This may be due to a lack of understanding of what those payments revolve around or how they get determined in the first place.

One woman's example

For instance, one woman got divorced from her husband. The court told her to pay around $70,000 to cover both child support and alimony. She was, as she put it, furious about these payments. She claimed that, during their marriage, she had:

  • Supported his business
  • Used her income to help start the company
  • Paid for his student loans
  • Sent the kids to an expensive daycare
  • Done more than he did around the house

She said, on those grounds, that she felt it was very unfair that she had to provide financial support. She had already been supporting him and the kids for years and did not want to do it after the divorce.

The problem here may have been that she, unfortunately, did not really have a clear understanding of what the payments were for. To start with, sharing her income with her husband during their marriage does not change her obligations after their marriage. Many couples share their income. It's a choice, not a loan.

Furthermore, financially supporting her husband during the marriage is exactly why alimony exists. He expected that support. With the end of the marriage, alimony means he can still get that support so that the termination of the relationship doesn't cause a financial hardship.

Naturally, child custody payments also have nothing to do with her husband. They are to support the kids. They can pay for things like food, clothing and that expensive daycare. She may not want to pay him, specifically, but she's not. She's helping to raise her children and give them a healthy living situation.

This example illustrates exactly how people often feel about the financial ramifications of divorce, and it does a good job of showing how that can cloud their thinking. Men and women have misconceptions about what is "fair" or what they deserve, and they let these misconceptions change the way they think the divorce should play out. It is important to take a step back and consider the facts of the case to really get a sense of what it means for all involved.

Your rights

No matter which side of this equation you are on, it is also important to make sure you know your legal rights and all of the steps you can take during divorce.

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