Massachusetts Spousal Support Attorney
Spousal support (also known as alimony) is often part of a divorce. Alimony is paid or awarded for numerous reasons. One spouse may be incapable of financial self-support because of a physical or mental disability or because he or she lacks adequate education, training or work experience. In some divorces, one spouse may have a much higher earning capacity than the other spouse who stayed home to care for children or run the household. Massachusetts divorce law allows a court to award alimony to a spouse after considering all pertinent factors. Spousal support is generally more likely to be awarded in long-term marriages than in short-term marriages and can be temporary or permanent.
Tough Litigators, Effective Negotiators in Alimony Matters
At Massachusetts Family Law Group, our lawyers help clients with matters related to alimony. From our Norwood and Woburn offices, we provide sound counsel and aggressive representation during divorce or when spousal support orders need to be modified post-divorce. For most divorcing spouses, alimony is a hot emotional issue. And neither spouse believes they are getting a fair deal. Parties tend to feel that they are either paying too much or receiving too little. Our lawyers have the skills and knowledge to be effective advocates when seeking alimony for clients or when trying to limit a client's exposure after a spousal support request. We fight for our clients financial well-being.
Issues in Alimony
- Termination of alimony: Does alimony stop upon remarriage or (long-term) cohabitation of the recipient or after a specific number of months or years? Does it end once the receiving spouse completes training or education?
- Amount of alimony: Does is remain constant for the term or does it decrease every year?
- Timing of alimony award: Will the parties keep the issue of alimony open for later modification post-divorce?
- Criteria for modification: Can alimony be modified in the event of a substantial change in circumstances? Are there triggering events?
- Trading alimony for property: Is there a tax reason that makes it better to provide a more generous property settlement rather than pay alimony?
- Length of alimony: One of the biggest issues is how long alimony should last. The ongoing debate surrounding its duration is well-settled with the recent decision in the Pierce vs. Pierce case, as well as proposed legislation in both the House and Senate.
Nobody, but nobody believes they get a fair deal when it comes to alimony. Parties tend to feel that they are either paying too much or receiving too little. Everyone believes he or she is the victim when it comes to alimony.
One of the biggest unknowns when it comes to alimony is how long it should last. The ongoing debate surrounding its duration is well-settled with the recent decision in the Pierce vs. Pierce case, as well as proposed legislation in both the House and Senate.
Because it can be negotiated and considers variables such as these, alimony can be tailored to fit your individual situation. Let your attorney help you meet your needs.
When it Comes to Spousal Support, Every Court Works Differently
It is important to note that in Massachusetts, each judge has the power to weigh each factor as appropriate. A few judges give equal weight to each factor, while others give some issues more weight than others. Our lawyers analyze each judge's history in attempting to anticipate how each would likely rule on a case-by-case basis. By assigning each attorney in our firm to specific regions and courthouses in Norfolk, Essex, Middlesex and Suffolk counties, we've come to know how things work. For more information about the courts in your area, visit our informational pages on courthouses and judges.
Clients Ask Two Questions — Over and Over Again!
Q. My husband is threatening to quit his job and start working at McDonalds and, as a result, pay me nothing. Can he do that?
A. If the judge finds that your husband is capable of working at a higher level, the court may consider his earning capacity rather than the actual earnings.
Q: My wife is a dentist and said she's retiring and won't have to keep paying me my alimony. Does her retirement justify the termination of alimony?
A: Voluntary retirement at a customary age is simply one factor, albeit an important one, to be considered by the judge in deciding whether to modify the alimony obligation set forth in a divorce judgment.
Learn More About the State of Alimony in Massachusetts
Alimony is among the hottest topics in any divorce or family law case. For additional information about the foundation of alimony formulas, effective discover, finding hidden income, deciphering tax returns, and the considerations that judges examine in an alimony case, call a Boston alimony lawyer at (800) 763-1030 or send an e-mail to schedule a free initial consultation. We represent clients from communities such as Beverly, Salem, Lowell and Cambridge and throughout Eastern Massachusetts.