When a couple gets divorced, the court may grant alimony to one of the former spouses for financial assistance. Alimony is often a hotly contested matter, leading to heated court battles. Many couples are unfamiliar with how alimony payments are determined and are unsure what to expect regarding their legal obligations to pay or receive this type of court-ordered payment. Please continue reading to learn how alimony payments are determined in Massachusetts and how our seasoned Bristol County Alimony Lawyers can help you reach the fairest settlement possible.
What is alimony?
Alimony, also called spousal support, is a court-ordered payment that is a legal obligation on the higher-earning spouse to give financial support to the lower-earning spouse before or after marital separation or divorce. Essentially, alimony is a periodic predetermined sum awarded to a spouse, providing financial support to maintain the same standard of living they were accustomed to during the marriage.
When a couple is married for a long time, and one spouse has a lower income or no income at all, there is a large discrepancy in earning power, which can put one spouse at a financial disadvantage in the event of a divorce. As such, the court will evaluate several factors to determine whether a spouse should be awarded this type of financial assistance.
Are alimony payments determined solely on the financial needs of the former spouse in Massachusetts?
Generally, alimony payments are determined by the financial needs of one spouse and the other spouse’s ability to provide that support. However, it is imperative to understand that there are other factors the court considers besides financial need. Alimony payments are not determined solely by the financial needs of the former spouse. Instead, the court also considers the following factors:
- The length of the marriage
- Each spouse’s needs
- Each spouse’s age, mental state, and physical health
- Each spouse’s earning capacity
- Each spouse’s earning potential, ability to earn and support themselves
- Each spouse’s contributions to the marriage
- The couple’s standard of living during the marriage
- How long the supported spouse has been out of the workforce
- The length of time the supported spouse would need for education or training to become self-sufficient
- The tax ramifications of alimony payments
- The ability of the payer spouse to support their partner and still support themselves
As you can see, the court will consider several factors when determining alimony payments. If you are facing a divorce and alimony is an unresolved conflict, it is in your best interest to contact a skilled Bristol County alimony lawyer from The Law Offices of Cynthia L. Hanley, P.C., who can provide you with quality legal counsel and help you understand your support obligations.