How is Alimony Calculated in Massachusetts?
In a Massachusetts divorce, if one spouse is financially dependent on the other, the court may order that the independent party will provide the dependent party with money to help them sustain for a specific time period after divorce. This periodic payment is referred to as alimony in Massachusetts.
Unless the divorcing parties can themselves arrive at an agreement for alimony through mediation, the court will use its own judgment to determine this figure and the duration for which it must be paid. With the help of a knowledgeable divorce mediator, you and the other party can resolve the issue of alimony to your satisfaction and exactly as per your mutual needs.
Mediation puts you both in control of the decision to a large extent. However, if you leave the decision to the court and attempt to resolve it through litigation, the judge will consider various factors related to your marriage in order to finalize the amount and duration of alimony.
Factors Considered in Alimony Calculation
- The income of each spouse
- Employability of each spouse (including employability with additional diligence and training, where required)
- How long the marriage lasted
- Age and health condition of each spouse
- Lifestyle during marriage and each party’s ability to maintain that lifestyle
- The economic contribution of each spouse to the marriage
- Whether a spouse suffered a loss of economic opportunity because of the marriage
- Any other factors that the court considers pertinent
Massachusetts Alimony Limits
The general rule while calculating Massachusetts alimony payments is that the amount a spouse pays should not exceed the financial needs of the beneficiary party. In addition, the amount should not exceed 30 to 35 percent of the difference between the gross incomes of the couple.
The “gross income” here refers to the income figures that were established at the time of issuance of the alimony order. If the court had previously considered a gross income figure while finalizing a child support order, that figure will not be considered while calculating the income for the purpose of alimony determination.
Role of a Divorce Mediator: Identifying Specific Purposes and Goals of Alimony
If you choose to resolve your Massachusetts alimony amount as well as duration issues through mediation, your divorce mediator will help you and the other party identify the actual purpose of this payment.
For instance, it might be a sensible idea to pay a higher alimony amount that could help provide vocational training for a dependent spouse for the short-term, rather than continue with a higher level of financial dependence for the maximum duration of alimony.
Discussion about alimony in Massachusetts could also go through shortfall situations (where the independent spouse is finding it hard to commit to a particular alimony amount).
A skilled mediator can help here by reminding both parties that they have two ways to resolve this issue.
One approach would be to reduce their living expenses, while the other approach would be to support a party to develop additional income-earning capacity.
Choose a Seasoned Massachusetts Divorce Mediation Lawyer for Alimony Issues
Contact Shapiro Mediation Services today to learn more about the mediation process. Call (339) 298-7733 to schedule a free consultation with one of our mediators at our Massachusetts or South Florida office, or contact us online.