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Have you laid the groundwork to receive spousal support?

In past decades, alimony — now referred to as "spousal support" — was a given for many divorced women. But times have changed, and such is no longer the case in 2018.

But just because it is no longer obligatory doesn't mean that divorced women (and some men) might not need it to get by financially. If you are planning to divorce and ask for spousal support, you need to do your homework first.

That means drafting a pre-divorce budget. Divorce inevitably involves changes in the spouses' lifestyles. However, by clearly establishing the budgetary standards the parties shared during the marriage, it may be possible to increase the amount of spousal support one receives post-divorce.

Before you begin devising your pre-divorce budget, you will need all available information. Below are some sources that can prove invaluable when documenting expenses:

  • Credit card receipts
  • Check registers
  • Payroll stubs
  • Bank statements
  • Utility bills
  • Investment records
  • Tax returns
  • Insurance premiums

Once you have the information you need, you and your Atlanta family law attorney can use it to establish your fiscal needs and standard of living.

Don't forget to include any extraordinary expenses like private school tuition and expenses for children with special needs. Remember, if it's not listed on your budget, to the court, it doesn't exist.

One thing you need to be especially vigilant about is documenting sources of any hidden income for your soon-to-be ex-spouse. Some commissions and bonuses could be obscured or hidden until the divorce is finalized. Spouses who are self-employed may be quite adept at hiding their earnings during a divorce, so make sure that you document all income streams.

Even though divorce brings with it inevitable changes, you should not have to go from eating at five-star restaurants to sorting through dented cans at local food banks. Correctly documenting budgetary expenses during your marriage can help close the gap between your marital standard of living and the one you adjust to post-divorce.

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