This Week’s Blog by Carole T. Orland.
What Might I Not Learn from my Friends About Divorce?
The dirty little secret in divorce cases is that the parameters of the likely outcome are relatively narrow. Connecticut is not a community property state where martial assets are automatically divided equally. However, the division of assets in most Connecticut settlements or Court awards will hover around 50%-50%, with some possible variation, such as 55%-45% or 60%-40%.
Likewise, child support is set by a formula contained in the Child Support Guidelines, which allow for some fairly standard deviations, and alimony typically is within a range that any reputable divorce attorney can estimate.
When it comes to children, most Parenting Plans are fairly routine and provide for a schedule that reflects the availability of each party to parent the children, unless a parent has some overriding behavioral issues including physical or emotional abuse, or substance or alcohol abuse.
How Can I Learn More About the Parameters of a Likely Outcome in my Divorce?
When analyzing the asset division in your case, ask your attorney to provide you with a spreadsheet that will reflect the allocations of 50%-50%, 55%-45%, and 60%-40%. In many cases, the difference will not be substantial, relative to the size of the marital estate. In some cases, that difference will be neutralized by the fees and costs you will pay to pursue what you feel is a more favorable division. Have your attorney do a cost/benefit analysis.
With regard to child support, have your attorney run the Child Support Guidelines with probable scenarios. Again, you may see that the comparison is not all that significant.
Alimony can be a little trickier, especially since the enactment of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which essentially eliminates the federal deduction for divorces after December 31, 2018. The rule of thumb and conventions previously employed to arrive at a reasonable alimony award are different now, but with sufficient data your attorney should be able to easily guide you as to a probable range.
Ask your attorney for input on your Parenting Plan. He or she should be able to advise you on a reasonable schedule and provide you with context as to what a Court would likely order.
How Can I Turn this Advice into an Advantage in my Divorce?
The real question is: why make divorce a war? Understandably, most people who are getting divorced harbor ill feelings about their spouse for various reasons. But being vengeful or vindictive likely will not significantly affect the bottom line. It will only ramp up emotions and drive up costs.
It is most important that you find an experienced divorce attorney who can educate you about the likely outcome. It will save you anguish, time, and money. And then hope that your spouse does the same!
At Broder & Orland LLC, we make a point of educating our divorce clients early on about the parameters of the likely outcome of their case. We draw on years of experience to provide context for settlements and trials. We also share documentation with our clients which quantify possible scenarios and comparisons so they can make well-informed decisions about their case.