At Westfield Mediation, LLC, we help couples with this difficult, but useful, step in the process. It forces some couples to face the reality that divorce means they will be living apart with separate expenses. It is also helpful to give a family a sense of lifestyle post-divorce. It is very challenging to financially support two households on the same income that you are used to supporting one household. While some overall expenses will double (two cable bills, two heating bills, etc.) some will stay the same (dry cleaning, haircuts, etc.) and some may have to go down (entertainment, vacations, etc.). It is a valuable exercise so the client can prepare financially for his/her new post-divorce life. It is also helpful for both clients to see how the other plans to live and to ensure that one person is not living the good life while the other is living in a tent on the side of the road.
The court will use these budgets to make sure that this does not happen. In reality, both parties usually have to scale back his/her lifestyle for a little while after the divorce. But if there is an imbalance, then the alimony or child support amount between the parties may need to be adjusted. It is not fair if one person soars and the other plummets. Support amounts can help balance the economic scales. The CIS budget form is a difficult, but very necessary, form to help determine these factors.
For more information about Case Information Statements or divorce mediation contact Randi M. Albert, JD, or Michelle Weinberg, LMFT, at Westfield Mediation, LLC, at 908.913.0373. View our website at www.westfieldnjmediation.com or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.