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Three Tips for Maintaining Your Lifestyle During a Divorce

The process of finalizing a divorce takes months, in the best-case scenario, and often drags on for a year or more.  Both parties are now responsible for supporting two households on the same income that used to support one.  If one spouse made less than 50% of the joint income, or now has more than 50% of the joint expenses (such as when they remain in the family home), he or she can be hard-pressed to make ends meet.  If children are involved the problem is usually even more acute.  What can you do to get through this period before the family’s assets are divided and a permanent agreement is put into place?

Tip 1: Secure a separation agreement

Even if you hope that your divorce will be quick and without rancor, you should have a separation agreement.  This agreement does not concern the permanent disposition of assets or debts, but governs the month-to-month bills.  Who pays for food, clothing, utilities and transportation?  If one of you is still living in the family home, who pays the rent or mortgage, taxes and other maintenance and upkeep?  What about medical bills and the children’s needs?

Tip 2: Account for temporary support

Permanent spousal support is not as common as it once was, and is usually reserved for cases where one spouse has a physical or mental disability or when the spouse is over age 60 or so.  However, temporary spousal support is far more common and can last for several years, to allow the other person to get back on his or her feet and gain some earning potential.  Temporary support is awarded on a formula that looks at each person’s earnings and earning potential today, rather than looking at future earning capacity.

Sometimes when both spouses had similar incomes and there is no longer a joint home to maintain, they can take care of their own bills.  But if one spouse stayed at home or worked part time, or even if both worked full time but one spouse’s income was significantly larger than the other, the spouse with more assets will be responsible for supporting the other, in whole or in part.

Tip 3: Clarify your medical insurance

Medical insurance and bills can be a huge part of any family’s budget.  While you can still be covered on your spouse’s medical insurance policy until the divorce is final, it is your responsibility to ensure that you are in fact still on the policy.  Any medical bills that you receive will not be forgiven later because you thought that you had coverage.

Coinsurance and deductibles can also add up.  Medical support, just like regular cash support, can be part of a temporary agreement.  Such an agreement would require the spouse who has coverage to keep the other spouse on the policy, whether private or employer-sponsored, and can also include provisions for payment of any premiums due.  If you have regular medical bills for doctor visits or prescription drugs, these costs can also be split based on your respective incomes.

Contacting a divorce lawyer at the early stages of any separate can make a real difference.

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Randy  S.  Margulis Attorney Photo
Randy S. Margulis
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As a Buffalo divorce lawyer for 25 years, I have devoted myself to solving the problems that affect families throughout the Buffalo metropolitan area and Western New York. As a family law attorney, I make it my goal to create a partnership of trust with my clients. People put their trust in me to handle cases that can potentially have a long-lasting impact on not only their lives, but the lives of their family as well.

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    5.0/5.0

    Randy Margulis is knowledgable of Domestic Law, dedicated, responsive, personable, aggressive and effective. I came to him on a friend's recommendation as well as Randy's reputation, and during the initial consultation I liked his approach and track ...

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    5.0/5.0

    Found Mr. Margulis to be a very organized and professional individual to work with. He is well-respected by his peers and is spoken of highly, I believe this helped with my divorce and made things go smoothly. I would highly recommend his services ...

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    Randy is very firm and effective in court while empathetic to his clients. I am a domestic violence victim, and Randy made me feel safe and protected. My financial award was more than I envisioned it to be when I started my divorce. I can't thank ...

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    Mr Margulis was one of the nicest attorneys I have ever had the privilege to speak to. He knows what he is doing and saying. I chose him because he was reassuring, respectful and understanding. He made my divorce easy, without regret and civil.I appr...

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    Randy was referred to me. I am so glad I chose him to represent me. He was efficient and extremely knowledgeable. I would recommend him to anyone and have recommended him to a friend of a friend.

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