How is alimony decided?

Throughout divorces and even after the process is completed, alimony can be a topic of discussion that causes many arguments. Alimony refers to the legal obligation for one party to financially support the other after a divorce. When couples are married, there may be one spouse that provides the primary source of income for the family. The other spouse may take care of the children instead of working or they do not make a sufficient enough income to support themselves without the help of their spouse’s income. In order to ensure that the spouse can properly provide for themselves, alimony is something that courts decide on. If you are undergoing a divorce or are struggling with your finances after getting divorced, consult with our legal team to find out what you are entitled to.

When determining the amount of alimony, judges in Massachusetts take into account the length of the marriage. There are other factors involved as well, such as the job each spouse has and how much of an income they receive. Options for alimony include general term alimony, rehabilitative alimony, reimbursement alimony and transitional alimony.

What is expected for each alimony option?

Based on your particular case, you can be entitled to alimony from a few different options. General term alimony is a regular payment from one spouse to another for a determined period of time. For this method, the length of the marriage decides the amount of support that is obligated. Rehabilitative alimony is another method that includes a regular payment for a short period of time to help the dependent party become financially stable.

Reimbursement alimony is a form of support that can be paid regularly or as a one-time payment after a marriage. This method is made to reimburse one party for the cost of supporting the other while he or she pursued education or job training. Transitional alimony helps a person settle into their new life. With this form of alimony, it can be paid as a lump sum or regular payments. This method is for marriages that lasted less than five years.

How is general term alimony broken down?

Since general term alimony covers marriages over a varying period of time, it is broken down more specifically. In general, the longer a marriage has lasted, the greater the duration of the support provided by the independent spouse to the dependent spouse. Marriages that lasted less than five years produce alimony that cannot be required for more than 50% of the marriage. When a marriage lasted less than 10 years, alimony cannot be required for more than 60% of the duration of the marriage.

Longer marriages require alimony to be paid over a longer duration of time. Marriages that lasted less than 15 years cannot have alimony required for more than 70% of the duration of the marriage. When a marriage lasted less than 20 years, alimony cannot be required for more than 80% of the duration of the marriage. At 20 years and above, the court determines a fair and just alimony that is required.

What can affect alimony?

Alimony should be paid for the required period of time. However, other factors may influence the process of making payments. Alimony can stop when death has occurred, remarriage or cohabitation of the dependent spouse happens or if the paying party reaches full retirement age. The full retirement age will be reviewed by the court to ensure it is a just decision.

A judge may also consider the extension of alimony. This could be due to significant changes in circumstances or that evidence for an extension has become quite clear. Dealing with alimony can be difficult and complex. In order to make sure you are not being cheated or paying too much, contact us for legal representation.

If you require compassionate and knowledgeable legal guidance for a matter of divorce, family or estate law, please contact the experienced attorneys at the Law Offices of Cynthia L. Hanley today. Our firm proudly serves clients in Mansfield, Massachusetts and throughout Bristol County.