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How Much Would Alimony Be in Massachusetts?

Unlike Child Support, which needs to be paid in any case where there are children, not every divorce results in the payment of alimony, also known as spousal support.  In order to be eligible for alimony, three things must be true: 1) the person requesting alimony must be able to show that he or she needs alimony to support a lifestyle similar to what was enjoyed during the marriage; 2) the person being asked to pay alimony must be able to afford paying alimony; 3) there must be income that has not previously been used to calculate child support available to use to calculate alimony.

If a person can establish that they need alimony, that their spouse can afford to pay alimony, and that there is income available to calculate an alimony amount, then it becomes a question of how much alimony and for how long.  How long alimony should be paid for depends on how long your marriage was.  The longer your marriage, the longer the potential duration of alimony.  For long-term marriages (more than 20 years), alimony can be ordered indefinitely.  Though there are guidelines for duration, Judges can deviate from these guidelines if there are specific circumstances in a case that warrant that duration.  For instance, one spouse is permanently disabled and therefore needs ongoing financial support.

In terms of the amount of alimony, this amount should, arguably, be determined by how much the spouse receiving alimony actually needs to maintain his or her lifestyle.  This amount may vary depending on the lifestyle the couple lived during their marriage and whether both spouses worked full-time.

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