The divorce process is designed to help families transition and move forward with a productive future. Financial situations oftentimes change or are altered following a divorce. Sometimes the change in circumstances may create the need for alimony which is also referred to as spousal support. Massachusetts currently does not provide specific, or set, guidelines for determining alimony. Understanding how alimony is determined is helpful for parties going through a divorce.
Alimony or spousal support is the payment that one former spouse makes to the other spouse. Alimony payment is typically paid in regular intervals. The alimony payment is deducted from the gross income of the payer. The alimony that is paid is part of that spouse's federal gross income. It is part of the gross income of Massachusetts, in this case.
A divorce in Massachusetts or anywhere else in the country can be difficult when children are involved. If a couple has children with special needs, the situation becomes much more complex.
When a marriage breaks down irretrievably, a spouse who has been financially dependent on the other may ask for alimony. U.S. courts, including those in Massachusetts, consider several factors of the other spouse, including the age, health and capacity to earn, before making a decision about the amount of the alimony. Alimony may be a factor in same-sex divorces as well. Consider the recent case of the Women's National Basketball Association's star Brittney Griner and her former spouse, Glory Johnson.
Alimony laws in Massachusetts and across the country have gone through many changes in the last few decades. In many cases, the person who pays alimony to the other ex-spouse might have a substantial change in circumstances. In such a case, the person who is paying the alimony may need to have the alimony agreement modified in court.
Massachusetts residents who are planning to divorce often worry about the amount of alimony, also known as spousal support, that they might have to pay from their total income per month. In some cases, either spouse who has been ordered by the court to pay alimony will strive to make some major changes to the alimony agreement in order to make the payments more easily.
Many Massachusetts parents who are close to settling on their divorce or settling child custody or child support legal issues often do not understand the various legal proceedings involved in the matter and the impact that those legal proceedings can have on a family. The state government and volunteers in the legal profession are starting to conduct workshops for parents to make them aware of all of the potential matters that could come up in a family law dispute.
A 21-year-old mother with a mild intellectual disability has recently won a legal battle against the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families to gain legal custody of her 2-year-old daughter. The young mother was fighting the case for 2 years to reunite with her baby, who was taken away from her when she was 2-days-old and placed in a foster home.
Massachusetts divorce is tough on most people. The longer the marriage, the tougher the emotional strains and the rougher the financial challenges faced by both spouses. Few Massachusetts couples are exempt from these challenges.
Usually, when a couple with minor children part ways, one of the parents obtains physical custody of the children. However, in some cases, neither parent is capable of caring for their children, so a guardian is appointed instead. Guardianship of minor children is another area of family law that works to protect the rights of children during custody arrangements.