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Discussing spousal support and child support with an attorney

When a Massachusetts marriage ends in divorce, the financial fallout can lead to a drastic shift in budgeting and financial stability for both sides. Child support and spousal support are among the most pressing concerns for many. Regardless of whether an individual expects to pay or receive either form of financial support, the way that the numbers will break down will have a big impact on their future financial outlook. Understanding how the payments are likely to be structured is a top priority during the early stages of a divorce.

While there are a number of online resources that claim the ability to calculate alimony and child support payments, the best source of information about these matters is one's divorce attorney. For those spouses who expect to make these payments, the first step in calculating the estimated payment amount is to provide the attorney with a comprehensive accounting of one's income, as well as any income earned by the other spouse. It is also important to provide bank statements, recent tax returns, retirement account information and any other relevant financial information.

For those spouses who expect to receive child support and/or alimony, the same information is required, for both you and your spouse. It may also be helpful to have a list of any special needs on the part of shared children, and a summary of any expenses such as private schooling, tutoring or other expenses that fall outside the realm of general living expenses. Using this information, the attorney can provide an estimate of how much income a spouse can expect from child support and alimony.

As with any significant financial matter, being prepared greatly improves one's chances of a successful outcome. Taking the time to gather and present the necessary financial documentation will make the attorney's job far easier, which can translate to sizable savings in terms of legal fees. The breakdown of child support and spousal support will have a big impact on the financial standing of both parties in the years to come, and should be a focal point in the beginning stages of a Massachusetts divorce.

Source: Huffington Post, Divorce Confidential: Asking the Right Questions in a Divorce, Caroline Choi, Dec. 4, 2013

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