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Old 06-07-2017, 10:31 PM
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Originally Posted by mathatter89 View Post
After speaking with another lawyer today, even if the separation agreement is valid and a judge does not overturn it, I was told that a ex-spouse still has the right to seek SS, even if she waived it in the separation agreement.(which she did) I will also say that a judge may not find that fair (waiving SS) so this point is definitely arguable and is probably what she wants.
SS is not a guaranteed thing just because your incomes are different. If she waived it, that's good, but if she waived it without legal advice then she has every right to revisit it. It doesn't make her entitled to it though.

Did she make sacrifices to support you while you did key things that helped your income rise? Like did she support you financially while you completed school, or did she do all the housework so you could work 70hrs a week establishing yourself?

If she has her own career that did not suffer for being married to you, she may not have any entitlement to SS from you. Do not go in there with the assumption that she should get SS, or giving her SS will become more likely. Did she turn down promotions because of your career's needs? Did she have to quit her job and start over to follow you in a move for your career? If there wasn't anything like that, then don't cave in to paying her SS.

Originally Posted by mathatter89 View Post
Question 1:
Why is a financial disclosure required on my part at all? If it comes down to a SS payment (lump sum or monthly), don't I just have to agree to it and pay it?

Ultimately it is my lawyers' belief that the separation agreement is enforceable and if my ex wants to overturn that she'll have to take it all the way to a judge.

Therefore I'm not sure why I have to do a formal financial disclosure if it comes down to a SS discussion - I get that my last 3 years worth of tax returns are necessary and I have to be able to pay it (e.g. most recently paystub and YTD info), but not sure why I have to do a full financial disclosure (by way of the form?)
Financial disclosure is standard, and is done any time anything goes to court (sometimes so the lawyers can see how much money they can make from you).

When it's to establish a separation agreement or to go to court to divide things, it's done to see what there is to divide, and if there is an entitlement to SS and if so, how much it may be.

The disclosure would be done as of the date of separation.

In this case, it sounds like the agreement is being reopened, so doing financial disclosure again as of date of separation would prove that everything was divided fairly.

Providing your current financial picture may not be required. What you've accomplished (or lost) after separation is none of her business. You'd have to ask an expert, ie, lawyer, though.

She would be interested in your current situation only because of the means test for SS, ie, do you have the means to pay her anything. You would argue the needs test, ie, she has her own career and doesn't need you to pay her anything.

Originally Posted by mathatter89 View Post
Question 2: I have been told that the SS payment is done via a guidelines and that it will be based on the difference between my income and hers (based on our 2016 tax returns). If that's the case, why do I keep on hearing that "because she makes more now (in 2017), it'll help me? If it's all based on 2016, who cares about 2017?
IF she can prove entitlement to SS, which is based on a LOT more than just an income disparity, then a judge would look at amount. Amount would be based on income differences. And yes, you could argue that your income at date of separation is the relevant amount that should be used in the calculations, not whatever progress you've made on your own since then.

On the other hand, IF she can prove entitlement, she'll want to argue that your means to pay should be based on your current income. Which helps you because her current income is what would tell you her needs.

But definitely go in there with the assumption that she waived SS and has her own career, so there's no need for you to pay her anything at all.

Her murmuring about costs means this: if she is successful in court and you were unreasonable in negotiations before court, you are responsible for paying her legal fees which should have been avoidable. So just negotiate reasonably with her.

Based on what you described in your first post, you may not have done equalization properly, but it's hard to tell. Equalization is completely separation from SS so for you to be confused between the two tells me things may not have been correct though. If you didn't each have legal advice when you did it, that's another bad sign; there was nobody consulted to tell you it was incorrect.

Tell her you'll be happy to hear her arguments for what went wrong with equalization, and if there's anything wonky, you'll make it right. Don't even bring up SS, and operate under the assumption she's not entitled to it.

Last edited by Rioe; 06-07-2017 at 10:36 PM.
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