Getting a divorce means coming to terms with a number of different issues, ranging from emotional concerns to financial ones. It also means understanding Massachusetts’ divorce laws, and the circumstances in which a court orders things like child support and alimony to be paid. At the Law Offices of Jason C. Matalas, P.C. our Peabody divorce attorney knows that you have a lot of questions – the following provides a brief overview of when alimony is awarded in a Peabody divorce case. For more specific information related to your situation, please call our law office today.
Alimony: The Basics
Alimony, also called spousal support or spousal maintenance, is a type of court-ordered support that is paid by one spouse to the other for a period of time. The state of Massachusetts recognizes different types of alimony, including:
- Rehabilitative alimony;
- Reimbursement alimony; and
- Transitional alimony.
Each type of alimony listed above is designed to help one spouse support themselves for a period of time, or transition into their new life as a single person. Reimbursement alimony is paid to reimburse a spouse for costs that one spouse paid to the other for things like pursuing an education.
How Long Does Alimony Last?
Typically, the length of time that alimony lasts for is dependent upon the length of the marriage, with shorter marriages resulting in shorter alimony payment time periods. For example, a marriage that lasted for five years or fewer cannot result in an alimony award that lasts for more than 50 percent of the number of months the couple was married. However, if a marriage lasted for 20 or more years, the court could award alimony for as long as it finds reasonable, including for the remainder of the parties’ lives (up until the point that either party dies or the alimony-receiving spouse remarries).
When Is Alimony Awarded?
As explained above, alimony is appropriate when one spouse should be reimbursed for their financial investment in the other spouse’s pursuits, or when one spouse is financially dependent on the other and therefore needs the alimony to support themself or transition. That being said, judges will consider a number of different factors when determining whether or not an alimony award is appropriate, and if so, which type of alimony, how much alimony, and for how long an alimony award should last. These factors include:
- How long the marriage lasted;
- The ages and health of both parties;
- The lifestyle and standard of living established during the marriage;
- Each party’s income, assets, and ability to earn and income;
- Contributions to the marriage from each party, both economic and noneconomic;
- Whether or not a party will be able to maintain quality of life without alimony after the marriage;
- Lost opportunity suffered by a spouse as a result of the marriage; and
- Any other factors the court finds relevant.
Learn More About Alimony in a Peabody Divorce
If you are seeking a divorce in Peabody, understanding alimony and whether or not you will be able to seek it, or be ordered to pay it, is important – alimony can have a huge effect on your financial picture. At the Law Offices of Jason C. Matalas, P.C., our experienced Peabody alimony attorney understands the law, and how to work for clients’ best interests. To schedule a consultation, please send a brief description of your case to our law firm using the confidential contact form on our website, or call us at (978) 304-2888.