In the state of Massachusetts, alimony (also known as spousal support) is determined based on a few different factors. A judge evaluates these factors and makes a determination on the appropriate amount of alimony to be paid. Here are some of the factors that determine alimony payments in MA.
Length of Marriage
The law limits how long alimony can last. A shorter marriage may therefore result in a shorter time frame for alimony payments. In cases of marriages lasting over 20 years, the judge has the discretion to offer alimony for an indefinite period of time. There is no hard-and-fast rule since the law allows the judge the ability to deviate from the rules in certain circumstances.
Age and Health of Parties
The age and health of both the spouse paying and the one receiving alimony weigh heavily into determining the duration and amount of alimony. One spouse may rely on the support of the other given ailing health or financial hardship resulting from health conditions. Likewise, one spouse may be limited on how much alimony he/she can pay given his/her own health.
Income, Employment, and Employability
The judge will review the current income and employment, as well as the employability, of each spouse. In cases where one spouse has been out of work for many years while staying home to care for the children, he/she may not find it so easy to immediately re-enter the workforce with a dated skillset. Additional training and education may be required before that spouse can be self sufficient.
Contribution to the Marriage
Each spouse contributes to a marriage in more than simple earnings from employment. There are other financial factors, such as existing assets (i.e. trust funds, investments) and liabilities (i.e. school loans). There are also non-financial factors, such as being a primary care provider for young children. Evaluating how these influenced the marriage and how to compensate accordingly will be at the discretion of the judge.
Another aspect taken into consideration is the standard of living that each spouse has become accustomed to while married. A judge will consider to what extent each party will be able to maintain that lifestyle upon dissolution of the marriage. Potential lifestyle changes are a particularly important factor in long-term marriages.
Lost Economic Opportunity
If one spouse has lost an economic opportunity as the result the marriage, proper attention will be given on how to recoup the loss or compensate the spouse appropriately.
More Factors That Determine Alimony Payments in MA
Above are just a few examples of factors that determine alimony payments in MA. There are always exigent circumstances that the court may deem relevant to determine alimony payments. Your MA divorce attorney will play a key role in identifying what some of those circumstances may be and leveraging them in your favor. The above is merely a general guideline and should not be construed as legal advice. For a free consultation and legal advice on your impending divorce, contact Martino Law Group (Melrose MA divorce attorneys).