Alimony Empowering You to Move Forward

Hanover Alimony Lawyers

Alimony is designed to provide economic support when there is a disparity of income between two spouses within a divorce. Many factors can impact the type and amount of alimony one party will have to pay the other, including how long the individuals were married and their respective earning potentials.

Because the challenges surrounding spousal support vary according to the specific facts of a divorce case, it is important to hire a Hanover alimony lawyer who can guide you through this process. The legal team at O’Connor Family Law has over 35 combined years of exclusive family law experience. Therefore, you can feel confident that our family law attorneys can exceedingly represent your interests in requesting or responding to a request for alimony.

Types of Spousal Support Payments in Hanover

Because state law allows for various kinds of alimony, an experienced lawyer in Hanover can explain your spousal support options given the circumstances of your marriage and divorce.

There are 4 types of alimony in Massachusetts:

  • General Term Alimony: A divorcing party may pay general term support if their former spouse is unable to maintain their marital lifestyle after the marriage is dissolved. The length of the marriage typically determines the duration of this type of alimony. Every 5 years of marriage creates a longer duration that general term alimony can be ordered to be paid for. Another form of spousal support that can be available is rehabilitative alimony. The Court may issue this type of alimony when one party requires financial assistance after their divorce but is working toward gaining financial independence within a specified period.
  • Rehabilitative Alimony: The Court may issue this type of alimony when one party requires financial assistance after their divorce but is working toward gaining financial independence. Rehabilitative alimony payments are made for a temporary period and usually end once the party seeking alimony completes their educational training.
  • Reimbursement Alimony: This support is paid to the spouse who helped the other achieve their current financial situation. For example, if a husband paid for a wife to go to school, the wife may need to pay reimbursement alimony since the divorce terminates the Husband’s ability to benefit from the investment during the marriage. Another example would be a wife who stays home to raise the children and take care of the household while the husband attended graduate school to be able to earn more money – that could potentially qualify her for reimbursement alimony.
  • Transitional Alimony: This type of support is usually seen in cases where one spouse moved away from his or her home or support network to support the other spouse. Transitional alimony is meant to provide support for the spouse who adjusted their lifestyle or location to transition back to the way things were before the marriage.

How the Court Determines Alimony

The tax rules and regulations recently changed in relation to alimony. It used to be that any amount of alimony paid was tax deductible by the spouse who was obligated to make the payment and had to be claimed as income by the spouse receiving the payment. When those regulations were in place, the general guide was that alimony would be calculated at somewhere between 30-35% of the disparity between the two spouse’s incomes.

However, the tax regulations changed that, and the payment of alimony is no longer tax deductible to the payor nor taxable to the payee. Because of this, the amount of alimony ordered is generally between 20-25% of the disparity to account for the fact it is no longer tax deductible to the person who has to pay it. There is no hard and fast rule though and is highly dependent upon the judge assigned to the case. Every judge must consider a number of factors though when deciding whether to award an alimony amount.

The duration of the marriage, the need of the party who makes less and the ability to pay by the party who makes more are significant factors that come into play within an alimony decision. If minor children and a child support order are involved and the couple does not earn over $250,000.00 per year cumulatively, an alimony award is not generally ordered. Once the couple reaches over that $250,000.00 number though, how to calculate child support and alimony becomes significantly more complicated as there is no definitive calculation to use as guidance.

How Long Does a Person Have to Make Alimony Payments?

The duration of an alimony order can vary dramatically based on the length of their marriage and the type of spousal support at issue. For instance, if a divorcing couple was married for less than five years, general term alimony cannot exceed half the length of their marital union. If the marriage lasted more than 5 years but less than 10, alimony can be awarded for up to 60% of the length of the marriage. For marriages that lasted longer than 10 years but less than 15, alimony can be ordered for up to 70% of the length of the marriage. If you were married longer than 15 years but less than 20, alimony can be at play for up to 80% of the length of the marriage.

When divorcing parties were married 20 years or longer, the duration of alimony may be ongoing or indeterminate. Massachusetts General Laws §208(49) establishes the guidelines the courts must follow when making decisions about alimony payments.

There are reasons that alimony can be reduced or terminated after an order is initially issued. Some of those reasons could be if the person receiving alimony starts living with someone else or has access to additional money through their employment, an inheritance, or lottery winnings for example. If either party dies, that generally puts an end to alimony unless specifically laid out otherwise and it is a surviving agreement. If you have questions about alimony, one of our attorneys in Hanover can explain the factors within your case that may impact how long you could be ordered to pay or receive spousal support.

Speak with a Hanover Alimony Attorney

To find out more about your potential obligation to pay or eligibility to receive spousal maintenance upon your divorce, you should contact a Hanover alimony lawyer at O’Connor Family Law. Our team of attorneys can fight hard to protect your rights at the negotiating table and in the courtroom while working diligently to pursue a fair outcome.

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