Who Pays the Bills During a Pending Divorce?
Married couples are used to sharing the expenses of a household, and in most relationships, one spouse will contribute more to this endeavor due to a higher income. These bills do not disappear once divorce is in the picture, and in fact, expenses will increase during this time. Further, in many divorces, the spouse with primary childcare duties will remain in the family home, while the other spouse moves into a new residence. The question then becomes, for the spouse staying in the home, how to meet the monthly household obligations, especially given that this spouse often makes less money. The financial vagaries of splitting one household into two are numerous, and learning how to cope with this shift are challenging, to say the least. In some situations, though, one spouse truly cannot maintain a decent lifestyle while the divorce is pending, while issues of spousal support and property division remain unsettled. The estranged wife of rapper Vanilla Ice is facing this situation, as she tries to get the money needed to complete house repairs required by the couple’s HOA. While the specifics may vary, this is a real conundrum for many divorcing spouses, and how to handle this complex financial strain will be explored below.
Temporary Alimony and Attorney’s Fees
Divorce adds additional expenses that some spouses do not have the financial ability to absorb. To account for this situation, Florida law allows spouses in the midst of divorce to request temporary financial relief through the payment of alimony to cover common and recurring expenses, and in some cases, attorney’s fees. Attorney’s fees will be awarded when it is clear that the other spouse has a distinct financial advantage that would allow him/her to mount a much stronger legal defense, and fairness requires providing the other spouse with the financial ability to respond in equal measure. Judges have broad discretion with alimony awards, but the ordered amount cannot overwhelm the payor’s income. However, consulting with an attorney about temporary alimony may provide some insight as to what to expect in a given case.
Temporary Child Support
A motion for temporary child support may also be filed to cover normal childrearing expenses, childcare, and health insurance premiums. The amount ordered would be based upon the State’s child support formula, though it could ultimately differ in the final divorce judgment if the payor parent’s resources are found to be more robust during the discovery stage of the divorce.
Temporary Access to Funds and Mortgage Payments
Finally, the spouse in need of financial assistance during the pendency of the divorce could also ask for exclusive use and possession of the family home, typically in order to maintain stability for the children, with the added caveat that the other spouse continue making the mortgage payments. This arrangement is commonly approved when the spouse seeking to remain in the family home is the primarily engaged in raising the children, with little to no income as a result. In addition, the court may grant a spouse access to assets or funds to support him/her until the divorce is finalized. Note that advance mortgage payments and use of marital funds while the divorce is pending will be factored into the division of marital property, and will likely reduce the share the spouse seeking temporary relief will receive in the final settlement.
Get Legal Advice
Keeping up with expenses, both established and new, in the wake of divorce is difficult. If you are struggling to pay bills, or worry that divorce is unavailable because of financial limitations, talk to All Family Law Group, P.A. about your options. There are ways to get the money you need while things are finalized, and our law firm can help you address this issue. Contact the Tampa divorce attorneys and family lawyers at All Family Law Group, P.A. in Tampa Bay for a consultation at no charge. They can be reached at 813-672-1900.
by Lynette Silon-Laguna Google+