In Massachusetts, it’s possible for spouses to seek alimony upon divorce. Alimony is usually awarded to spouses who need additional financial support following the end of their marriage. Men or women may receive alimony, depending on their circumstances.
It’s possible that you and your spouse could decide how much alimony is acceptable in your case, but you can also take your case to court and allow a judge to rule on it. If you go to court, the judge will look at guidelines to come up with a reasonable amount of alimony if they think it’s warranted.
How does a Massachusetts court decide on alimony?
To decide on alimony, a judge will look at several factors including:
- The economic positions of both parties
- The contributions of each person during the marriage
- Each person’s health
- The length of the marriage
- How old the parties are
- Any lost economic opportunities caused by the marriage, such as a stay-at-home parent’s loss of years at a career
- The standard of living both people enjoyed during the marriage
These and other factors may play a role in the final alimony award.
How much alimony can you or your spouse get?
Typically, alimony is a reasonable amount of money. The judge may order alimony for only as much as the other person needs to support their lives. Usually, this is no more than 30% to 35% of the difference between the two parties’ incomes.
It is possible that a judge could issue an order for alimony of a different amount, though. For example, if you have a serious, chronic health problem, the judge may order higher alimony to make sure you have the compensation you need to live comfortably with the condition until you can get disability or find a job that covers your expenses.
Permanent alimony is rare, but it may be possible in some cases. If you’re not sure if you or your spouse will seek or need alimony, it’s a good idea to review your budgets and to have a discussion about any financial concerns. Not all couples end their marriages with alimony requirements in place, so you may not have them, either.