Legal Articles

Mistakes to Avoid During Alimony Negotiations

As a Massachusetts resident going through a divorce, you’re not alone. No matter your reason for divorce, one of the most contentious issues that arise in any divorce is the subject of alimony.

Alimony payments—also known in some states as “spousal support” or “maintenance” is the legal obligation that a supporting spouse pay to the supported spouse. Massachusetts courts generally award alimony to the lower-earning spouse so that spouse can maintain a reasonable standard of living during and after divorce.

In the commonwealth of Massachusetts, several types of alimony can be awarded. They are called rehabilitative, reimbursement, transitional, and general alimony.

When a spouse is in need of additional education or job training to become financially independent, rehabilitative alimony can be awarded for up to five years.

Reimbursement alimony may be ordered as compensation to a spouse who financially supported the family while completing an education or job training during the marriage.

For short-term marriages, those lasting less than five years, the court may award transitional alimony to help the recipient spouse adjust to a new lifestyle or location.

General alimony may be ordered by the court, depending on the length of your marriage.

More times than not, one spouse will have to pay the other a set amount of money, at least temporarily. Both parties should be aware of the following mistakes.

Mistake #1
Many people are under the false assumption that if they spend a lot of money before going to court, they will have to pay less. However, alimony is typically determined by income, not assets. Hiding money with a large purchase won’t work, and might be better spent on divorce-related expenses.

Mistake #2
The desire to pay out alimony payments in larger sums to pay over a shorter term is understandable. However, paying more over a shorter amount of time may not be in the best interest of the spouse paying. There are some advantages of long-term payments. For example, if the alimony receiving spouse begins to cohabitate or marries another person, then alimony paying spouse may be off the hook for alimony payments sooner and have paid less. If you’re considering opting for short-term payments, be aware it may not work to your advantage.

Mistake #3
Too often, divorcing couples fail to take care of mental and physical health while only focusing on fiscal health. Divorce is a trying time for many. Gaining support from friends, family, or a therapist will help ensure you are of sound mind when dealing with heightened times of stress. By giving yourself adequate and proper care, you will be better capable of making informed decisions about your long-term finances.

If you need legal guidance or advice on the intricacies of alimony, our highly skilled team is here to help. Don’t hesitate to contact our office at any point during your divorce process.



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