During the divorce negotiation process, it is easy to become entrenched in a certain position. Say, for example, that your spouse is seeking spousal maintenance. You make a greater income than your spouse, but you believe that your spouse nevertheless earns a sufficient income that they can and should be self-supporting. It’s not a clear spousal maintenance case. There’s no guarantee that your spouse would be awarded spousal maintenance from a Judge at trial, even though you could probably afford it. I may even agree with you.
But, if your spouse is insisting on spousal maintenance as a settlement term, you have some decisions to make. You can either agree to pay your spouse spousal maintenance, or you can go to trial and ask the Judge to deny spousal maintenance to your spouse.
I had a client face this scenario recently. My client’s wife made a decent income, although less than my client. My client’s wife felt that she was entitled to spousal maintenance, and it was clear that the case would not settle unless my client agreed to pay spousal maintenance. My opinion was that although nothing is guaranteed, my client had a very realistic chance of successfully arguing to a Judge that his spouse should not receive spousal maintenance. But it would take several more months and significant attorney’s fees to achieve that result.
In the end, the case settled with my client agreeing to pay some spousal maintenance. He called it the price of freedom. He was not interested in prolonging the proceedings any further. He understood the very real possibility that the Court could deny spousal maintenance at trial, but in the interest of amicably resolving the case, it was a decision he was willing to make. When a client makes a payment that they feel they should not be required to pay – in the interest of resolving the case – we sometimes also refer to this as “nuisance money.” It’s just something you pay to make it go away.
This was a decision to be made by the client, of course. Only the client can decide what is more important – settling the case by paying more than they think they should have to, or going to trial. In this case, the lesson is sometimes the excess payment is really just the price of freedom.
Contact Beyer & Simonson
If you are facing divorce and any of the divorce-related issues such as spousal maintenance, child support, child custody, property division, or domestic abuse matters, you need our experienced Minneapolis divorce attorneys to help you. Contact Beyer & Simonson in Edina, Minnesota today at (952) 303-6007.