Porcello Law Offices
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Determining alimony during divorce proceedings

You and your spouse choose to divorce, and you did not make the decision lightly. Because you stayed at home and raised your children, you stopped working years ago and do not currently hold a job. You may worry significantly about how you will sustain yourself, as you and your spouse shared their income for many years.

The state of Massachusetts works diligently to avoid placing significant hardship on one party during divorce. The emotional effects of terminating your marriage prove difficult enough, and the court hopes to make the divorce process as smooth and equal as possible. Alimony exists to compensate individuals while they divorce if they do not work or hold skills to find a position immediately. Understand that if you do not have a job, a Massachusetts judge will determine the type of alimony and its duration, so that you can work toward sustaining yourself after separation.

The types of alimony in divorce settlements

Massachusetts recognizes four types of alimony that a court can award an ex-spouse during divorce. These include:

  1. General term alimony: Awarded and paid regularly when one spouse was dependent on another for income
  2. Rehabilitative alimony: Provided to one spouse when he or she is expected to support themselves after a specified date
  3. Reimbursement alimony: Paid regularly or once after marriage to reimburse for costs that one spouse paid to the other so that he or she could complete school or training
  4. Transitional alimony: Given to one spouse so that he or she may settle into a new lifestyle after divorce

Based on your abilities and your spouse’s income, a judge will determine an exact amount you will receive each check.

Determining when alimony concludes

A judge will determine the correct length of time that you will receive alimony. The amount of time that you receive alimony is determined by how long your marriage lasted. The shorter your marriage, the less time a court requires your ex-spouse to pay you alimony.

Alimony stops when:

  • Either spouse dies
  • If you, as the alimony recipient, dies
  • Your ex-spouse reaches retirement age
  • The length of time the court decides you will receive alimony expires

Massachusetts determines that if you require assistance from your working ex-spouse to either gain education to work or apply for specific positions, you have the opportunity to still receive income. Alimony ensures that a divorce proceeding does not inhibit one spouse’s ability to recover successfully from a split of assets during a divorce.

In any divorce proceeding, you want to hire an experienced divorce attorney to help determine what your rights are to both alimony and assets.

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Porcello Law Offices
271 Lafayette Street
The Joseph Simon House
Salem, MA 01970

Toll Free: 888-725-2534
Phone: 978-745-5553
Fax: 978-745-3777
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324 Main Street
Gloucester, MA 01930

Phone: 978-283-3600
Fax: 978-283-9493
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