A Massachusetts divorce is one of the most emotionally taxing events a person can experience, a fact that undoubtedly leads to numerous poor decisions when filing the ensuing paperwork. One of the most common areas where errors are made is during the process of alimony negotiation.
Second only to child custody, alimony is one of the most contentious and difficult to navigate processes during a Massachusetts divorce. When two people are splitting up, particularly when that split is acrimonious, the last thing either of them wants to discuss is the prospect of giving money to each other. But, the topic has to be dealt with and the only way to do it successfully is to go in armed with as much knowledge as possible.
When you are going through a Massachusetts divorce, there are a number of different outcomes that may occur in addition to dissolving your marriage. One such outcome is alimony, which is a legally binding financial agreement between a couple that can be awarded during divorce proceedings. Alimony, also known as spousal support, is usually awarded when one spouse has a significantly larger income than the other. In that case, the court mandates regular payments in order to assist with financial security when the divorce is finalized.
Traditionally, when society speaks about or thinks of alimony, it has been given by Massachusetts men to their ex-wives. However, in the last few years, there has been an increase in the number of men requesting and receiving alimony. As the number of women climbing the career ladder rises, so does the number of stay-at-home fathers, as well as the number of men seeking alimony. Women are now actually the top earners in one-third of all marriages, and as women continue to narrow the income gap, it has resulted in some unforeseen consequences, especially when it comes to divorce.
The Massachusetts alimony reform statute states that "alimony awards which exceed the durational limits established shall be modified upon a complaint for modification without additional material change of circumstance, unless the court finds that deviation from the durational limits is warranted." The court must then look to whether deviation is "required in the interests of justice."
Under the Massachusetts Alimony Reform Act of 2011, general term alimony will now have a time limit, determined by the length of the marriage.