By Jennifer M. Paine
Divorce Lawyer, Cordell & Cordell
They do not, that is, unless they have a divorce lawyer bold enough and principled enough to advocate for them the right way. That means telling your opponent—your wife and her attorney – at the outset that this is an alimony case, we want alimony and we will pursue it.
We will investigate her income. We want to know her budget. We are not afraid to try the case, and appeal it if we have to, and, if she doesn’t like that, she needs to come to the table and settle.
It also means doing at least the following:
Prepare Your Budget: Where will you be living after your divorce? What will rent run? A mortgage? What will you spend for utilities, phone service, Internet, transportation, insurance, medical care, legal expenses, your children? Can you meet these expenses on your own? Keep the budget realistic, because no one believes you will spend $500 monthly on clothing (if you do, you probably do not need alimony).
Value Your Services: What does it cost to hire someone for lawn care? Snow removal? Home improvements? The oil changes you’ve been doing throughout your marriage? Value these services to show how your unpaid contributions to your marital standard of living have contributed something of real value that deserves compensation.
Get Comparisons: Talk to divorced co-workers, family and friends, someone you know receiving alimony, and find out what worked in their cases. How are their cases similar to yours? Different? Who was the judge? And what arguments did they make to advance their cause?
Most of all, talk to your attorney. You want to know what the strategy is. What hearing dates you have and what you need to do to prepare for them, what the “high” and “low” for negotiating will be, and whether (and how) you will participate. You want to know what law is on your side.
Because if the law is on your side, and if you are not afraid to advocate for it, you’ve won more than half the battle.
In short, it takes stepping up to the plate like a man to get alimony.
Read Related Article: “Should You Request Alimony?“
Jennifer M. Paine is an Associate Attorney in the Detroit, Michigan office of Cordell & Cordell. She is licensed to practice in Michigan, and has been admitted pro hac vice in Illinois, Ohio, and the United States Court of Federal Claims.
Ms. Paine received her BA in English and Mathematics from Albion College and graduated Summa Cum Laude. She received her Juris Doctorate from MSU College of Law and graduated Summa Cum Laude.