Alimony Lawyers Helping Clients Explore Options in Westborough
Alimony (also called Spousal Support) refers to court-ordered payments of a predetermined amount that are awarded to a spouse or former spouse during and after a divorce. The object of alimony is to continue the quality of life or preserve financial stability equally as it was during the marriage. Alimony can be awarded to either partner but is set up to allow the spouse who makes a lower income (or no income) to remain financially stable. There are several factors that go into calculating what an alimony payment will be. Some of these factors are; the length of the marriage, the ages of the spouses, the gross income of both parties, their health, and their way of life throughout the marriage. Call the Westborough offices of O’Connor Family Law at 774-214-2137 to find out more about alimony in your particular case.
Is All Alimony the Same?
There are actually four different types of alimony that can be awarded.
General-term alimony is paid regularly to an ex-spouse who was financially dependent on their spouse during their marriage. Typically this is calculated based on the length of the marriage, and the term of the payments is determined this way as well. Generally speaking, the longer the marriage, the longer the term of payments is set to continue to support the ex-spouse.
Reimbursement Alimony can be set up in either a one-time payment or periodic payments and is generally issued to reimburse the spouse for money spent during the marriage to allow their spouse to finish training/college or to support them when they were unable to work.
Transitional Alimony is also set up as a one-time payment or several periodic payments to ensure that the spouse receiving the alimony is able to transition into their new lifestyle or location as a result of the divorce.
Rehabilitative Alimony is support paid to an ex-spouse for a set period of time with the expectation that the ex-spouse will be able to support themselves in time.
How Long Can I Expect to Receive/Pay Alimony?
With Reimbursement, Transitional, or Rehabilitative Alimony, the set payments and schedule are based on several factors but not specifically calculated based on the length of the marriage. General-term alimony is specifically based on the length of the marriage and sets limits as to how much you can request or how long you will need to pay, except in the case of marriages that last longer than 20 years, in which case the length of time alimony must be paid is up to the judge.
For marriages that last five years or less, the ex-spouse can’t receive alimony for a period greater than 50% of the number of months that you were married. As an example, if you were married for 24 months, you couldn’t request alimony payments that lasted longer than 12 months.
For marriages that last 10 years or less, you can’t receive alimony for a period greater than 60% of the months spent married in payments received.
For marriages that last 15 years or less, you can’t receive alimony for a period greater than 70% of the months spent married in payments received.
For marriages that last 20 years or less, you can’t receive alimony for a period greater than 80% of the months spent married in payments received.
When Does Alimony End?
Alimony payments cease upon the death of one or the other spouses, or if the spouse receiving the alimony payments remarries, or the spouse paying the alimony reaches “full retirement age.” In some cases, there can be an extension if there’s a good reason. Filing a Complaint for Modification would be your next step at this juncture, although this does not guarantee an extension.
Another aspect to keep in mind is in the event that “general term” or “rehabilitative” alimony is awarded, a judge may decide to modify the length of the payments or the amounts if there is good reason to do so. Some of these situations may arise where the spouse isn’t able to support themselves due to the ex-spouse abusing them physically or mentally, or if the spouse that is paying has been required to provide life insurance for the ex-spouse, if either party is elderly, has a chronic illness, or other unusual health circumstances, and also each parties tax consequences are considered, and if good reason is found, the judge may decide to modify either the length or the amount awarded in these cases.
General Term alimony can also be reduced, suspended, or terminated if the spouse receiving the payments cohabitates with another party for a continuous period of at least three months.
No two situations are alike, and consulting an experienced attorney to help you determine what is best or to be expected in your unique situation is of great benefit to you during this process.
Why Do I Need an Attorney?
As you can see above, there are several factors that go into calculating and receiving/requesting alimony, as it’s not all the same. There are also several factors that are considered should you need an extension, should you have a change in employment (either you or the spouse paying the support). What if the paying party retires early? Can my payment schedule be modified? We can help answer all of your questions regarding alimony with the compassion and respect this situation deserves. With years of combined experience in family law, we are confident in our ability to represent you and your family as you transition to a new chapter in your life. The experienced alimony attorneys at O’Connor Family Law are standing by at 774-214-2137 to answer your alimony questions