Does It Matter in a Divorce If One Spouse Was the “Breadwinner” During a Massachusetts Marriage?

| Mar 15, 2017 | Divorce |

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A common refrain that attorneys hear during the divorce process in Massachusetts is: “I earned all the money during the marriage, so why should I have to give my ex half of everything I own?” Employment income that is earned during the marriage is considered marital income, regardless of which spouse earned it. Massachusetts equitable distribution laws are based upon the concept that marriage is a partnership in which both spouses make valuable contributions. If one spouse is employed outside the home and earns income, and the other spouse is a stay-at-home parent who takes care of the home and family, then both spouses are contributing their respective efforts to the marriage.

For purposes of an equitable distribution of marital assets and debts, one spouse’s employment efforts are not favored over the other spouse’s homemaker efforts. In other words, a spouse is not entitled to a greater share of marital property for the sole reason that he/she was the breadwinner during the marriage.

Being the breadwinner during the marriage may provide a foundation for the other spouse to assert claims for post-separation support and/or alimony if the breadwinner spouse is determined to be the supporting spouse and the other spouse is determined to be a dependent spouse.

Depending on the circumstances and other factors, if the dependent spouse is substantially dependent upon the supporting spouse for financial support, then the dependent spouse may be entitled to receive an award of post-separation support and/or alimony from the supporting spouse. 

Should you be in the midst of a divorce or contemplating divorce, contact the Law Offices of Renee Lazar either through email or telephone 978-844-4095 to schedule a FREE one hour no obligation consultation to discuss your personal needs.

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