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Spousal support

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Spousal support

Factors used in Massachusetts to determine alimony

If you are going through a divorce, you might be worried about what will happen when you are on your own. You may be concerned about whether you will be able to make enough money to support yourself, particularly if you gave up your career to support your spouse’s ambitions or were unable to obtain the education necessary to develop job skills. Alimony, or spousal support, could be a viable option to help you get by and is based on multiple factors. Alimony is a type of financial support that the court orders a former spouse to pay to ease the transition into separate households. The payments could be awarded temporarily or permanently depending on your situation. For example, alimony is awarded more often when the spouses have been married for 10 years or longer and there is a big difference between their individual incomes. The most common factors that Massachusetts courts consider are the length of the marriage, each of your financial needs and earnings potential, the standard of living that you became accustomed to during marriage, and the mental and physical condition and age of both parties. The court also considers the ability of your spouse to pay, whether you suffered economic loss because of your marriage and the contributions you made to your marriage, such as refraining from work to care for children or helping pay for your spouse’s education. However, the courts could deviate from these guidelines for rehabilitative and general alimony. For example, if you

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Can alimony payments be terminated

Massachusetts law does make provisions to terminate spousal support. If a spouse who is receiving support remarries or either spouse dies, the support will stop. However, the spouse making payments may be required to get a life insurance policy that will provide support after the paying spouse passes on. The length of the marriage may also play a role in determining when support payments may terminate. For marriages that last for less than five years, support payments will last for no more than half the number of months that the marriage lasted. If a marriage lasts more than five years but no more than 10 years, support will last for 60 percent of the total number of months that the marriage lasted. Support will be provided for 70 of the number of total months the marriage lasts for marriages of more than 10 years and less than 15 years. This number goes up to 80 percent for marriages of more than 15 years but less than 20 years. Payments may also be terminated if it can be proven that a spouse who receives payments is cohabiting with and has formed a common household with another person for at least three months. Such a household may involve multiple people who are economically interdependent or a household where one person is economically dependent on someone else. While spousal support may be ordered as part of a divorce settlement, it may be terminated for a variety of reasons. Hiring a family law attorney

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Determining alimony in Massachusetts

Any Massachusetts resident who is preparing for divorce may be curious as to how spousal support is assigned and whether a former spouse might be required to continue to provide health insurance. A basic overview of the law can sometimes lead to more productive negotiations. Massachusetts law allows a judge to assign property or assets belonging to one spouse to the other in addition to or instead of spousal support. It is not relevant whether the property was owned prior to the marriage. All property owned by either spouse may be divided and assigned to either spouse, regardless of whose name is on it or when the property was acquired. This is different from other states that protect property a person owned before entering the marriage. Property that may be reassigned includes retirement benefits, military retirement benefits, pensions, annuities, insurance or vested and non-vested benefits. The amount of alimony is based on several factors, including the length of the marriage, the age and health of each spouse, the conduct of the parties during the marriage, skills and employability of the spouses and each party’s needs. A judge may consider the extent to which each spouse contributed to the acquisition of the property, whether a spouse contributed as a homemaker and the needs of any minor children. When spousal support is ordered, the spouse will also be required to provide health insurance if the other spouse cannot obtain coverage. This order does not reduce the amount of alimony. When spouses separate,

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Financial documents could help Massachusetts alimony proceedings

Going through divorce can be financially trying for the Massachusetts parties involved. There are, at times, many fees that come along with the proceedings, and individuals may also need to determine how they are going to handle their household finances once they are no longer married. In many cases, this could mean that alimony is paid from one spouse to the other to help supplement their income. When it comes to determining alimony amounts, it is important that all financial information is disclosed. It is true that some parties may feel negatively about such proceedings, and in an attempt to appear less financially inclined, one party may attempt to hide certain accounts or assets. If a party does attempt such actions, the other party could potentially not receive the proper amount of alimony. By gathering important documents, parties may be better able to keep the other individuals involved from hiding information. Tax returns, bank account information and other such documents could provide important information to the court when it comes to assessing the financial situations of each party. Because such documents are typically legally binding and come with severe penalties if they are not filled out honestly, most individuals typically disclose the correct information. Because alimony and other spousal support can be a trying topic for some parties, it is not surprising that some individuals may wish to hide certain information in order to come out better. As a result, parties who are in need of such support may need

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Cohabitation could affect Massachusetts alimony payments

After a divorce, it is not unlikely that a Massachusetts resident may have to pay spousal support to their ex-spouse. Alimony is often rewarded to parties who may be the most negatively affected by a divorce situation. However, there are certain issues that could arise that could lead to the end of alimony payments for certain individuals. Some of the most common reasons that a party may no longer have to pay alimony are if a death or remarriage occurs. However, there are also other points of contention that could lead to a halt in payments, such as cohabitation. If a recipient of alimony payments is considered to be in a “marriage-like” relationship in which the party resides with another individual and shares financial and other household aspects, the alimony that they have possibly been receiving could be stopped or reduced. If an alimony payor believes that the recipient is participating in a cohabitation situation, that individual may wish to have payments modified. However, proving that the recipient is, in fact, cohabitating may be more difficult to prove. A spouse accused of living in a marriage-like relationship and situation could potentially deny that the circumstances are true. If an alimony payor suspects cohabitation, that party may wish to assess the situation to determine whether moving forward with legal action might be right for the situation. Information on Massachusetts state laws concerning alimony could provide beneficial knowledge on how such circumstances may be treated. Seeking alimony modifications could have a significant

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Discussing spousal support and child support with an attorney

When a Massachusetts marriage ends in divorce, the financial fallout can lead to a drastic shift in budgeting and financial stability for both sides. Child support and spousal support are among the most pressing concerns for many. Regardless of whether an individual expects to pay or receive either form of financial support, the way that the numbers will break down will have a big impact on their future financial outlook. Understanding how the payments are likely to be structured is a top priority during the early stages of a divorce. While there are a number of online resources that claim the ability to calculate alimony and child support payments, the best source of information about these matters is one’s divorce attorney. For those spouses who expect to make these payments, the first step in calculating the estimated payment amount is to provide the attorney with a comprehensive accounting of one’s income, as well as any income earned by the other spouse. It is also important to provide bank statements, recent tax returns, retirement account information and any other relevant financial information. For those spouses who expect to receive child support and/or alimony, the same information is required, for both you and your spouse. It may also be helpful to have a list of any special needs on the part of shared children, and a summary of any expenses such as private schooling, tutoring or other expenses that fall outside the realm of general living expenses. Using this information, the attorney

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Alimony not just for Massachusetts women in divorce

It has been many years since women were primarily thought of as the weaker sex. If asked, many residents of Massachusetts would likely say men and women are equals. Women have the same rights as men, and most men see women as their equals in business, managing finances and other activities once solely the responsibility of men. So why, then, do men not ask for alimony during divorce proceedings in situations where the wife makes more money? According to the U.S. Census, there were only 12,000 male recipients of alimony, as compared to the 380,000 female recipients, in 2010. Given that nearly 40 percent of mothers who are married make an income greater than that of their husbands, one would think the number of men receiving alimony would be higher. When judges look at alimony in divorce proceedings, gender is not supposed to be a factor, so why do fewer men get alimony? Answered simply, they often just don’t ask for it. Many men see alimony as something for women. Some men reportedly see asking for alimony as a sign of weakness. When asking for alimony, even judges can have preconceived feelings about awarding spousal support for men. This is why men should be prepared to provide proof that alimony is needed to provide for their basic needs. In order for spousal support to discontinue being mostly for women, men will have to overcome gender biases and allow themselves an opportunity to receive support they may desperately need after a

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Yankees Manager Headed for a Divorce

Residents of Massachusetts might be interested to know that the rival of their popular baseball team, the Boston Red Sox, experienced some sad news on the divorce front this week. The wife of the general manager (GM) of the Yankees, Brian Cashman, has filed for divorce, says a recent report from the Associated Press. The GM’s soon-to-be-ex wife filed papers for divorce in Stamford, Conn. No doubt after the divorce proceedings progress, more facts will filter to the public. It is unknown at this time if spousal support will be pursued by Cashman’s wife. This move to file for divorce, which is likely to be like other high asset divorce cases that consider the financial needs of the couple, occurs only one day after prosecutors charged another female with stalking the Yankees GM and trying to extort money from him regarding an affair outside the marriage. This news report indicated that Mary Cashman’s lawyer offered no comment and that Brian Cashman’s lawyer also had nothing to say about the case. According to the report, the name of the woman who was charged with harassing Cashman had threatened to damage his public image if he did not fork over thousands of dollars. The lawyers for the accused woman also denied this allegation, claiming that Cashman changed when the relationship between them had soured. It remains to be seen whether future developments in the Brian and Mary Cashman divorce case will shed more light on any relationships that might have existed between

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Florida alimony under attack in state legislature

Florida alimony laws may be tumbling down like London Bridge. Not long ago the state legislature passed a new law that essentially reserved permanent awards of alimony for long-term marriages ending in divorce. Now there is a move underfoot to limit it further by abolishing permanent spousal support. These changes reflect a groundswell across the country, led by reforms of antiquated laws in Massachusetts and attempts to do so in New Jersey. The new Florida bill pending in the House of Representatives would award alimony based on the length of the marriage but would terminate on the retirement of the paying partner. One man who was required to pay lifetime alimony after a marriage of 14 years is part of the Florida Alimony Reform group, which has redoubled its efforts for change after passage of the reforms in Massachusetts. The group argues that, if the proposed law passes, those currently subject to onerous spousal support awards should be able to go to court to get their orders amended. But others suggest Florida is a more conservative state than Massachusetts and unlikely to go to the same extent in amending its laws. While there appears to be general agreement that reform is needed, some argue that any change should not hurt homemakers who stayed at home to raise families instead of pursuing careers. While it remains to be seen how the issues will be resolved, those facing spousal support issues would do well to consult an attorney experienced in all aspects

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