Why Does Standard of Living Matter?
When spouses divorce, family finances often undergo radical change. Apart from dividing the marital property, child support and alimony may also need to be ordered, further complicating divorce finances. Alimony is financial support paid to a spouse who is not financially independent after a divorce by the spouse with the greater financial resources. The duration of the order for alimony will depend, in part, on the length of the marriage and the kind of alimony it is. The amount of alimony to be ordered will depend on several factors the judge will consider when a request for alimony is made. One of these factors is what the quality of the marital lifestyle and their standard of living was and the ability each spouse has to maintain that standard going forward.
While it is important that divorced spouses are able to meet their normal monthly living expenses after a divorce, it is equally important that the standard of living of the child common to the couple doesn’t change drastically. The standard of living the couple enjoyed during the marriage will influence how much alimony is ordered, however alimony typically won’t exceed the receiving spouse’s financial need or be greater than 30-35% of the difference between the spouses’ two incomes.
Keep in mind, the financial resources of the paying spouse, the financial need of the receiving spouse, and the standard of living of the marital couple are just a few of the factors a judge will consider when ordering alimony. The judge will also consider the length of the marriage, the age and health of the spouses, the income and employability of the spouses, the contributions each spouse made to the marriage, both economic and non-economic, and any lost economic opportunities a spouse may have faced as a result of the marriage.
Massachusetts alimony laws were recently reformed, affecting the terms and conditions under which alimony can be ordered, modified, and terminated.
Alimony is a complex part of any divorce and one best handled by a professional.
If you are going through a divorce and have questions or concerns about alimony, speak with a family law mediator about your case. Whether you are requesting alimony or being asked to pay it, considering using a highly experienced divorce mediator who can handle complex financial support issues.
Are you going through a divorce and have questions about how to preserve your financial future? If so, contact Mediation Advantage Services for expert family law help. Experienced in complex divorce mediation, Polly A. Tatum can help you mediate your divorce, saving you the stress and costs of going to court. Our firm serves those across Worcester County as well as across Massachusetts. Call our Worcester office at (508) 795-1557, fill out our online form, or email us at [email protected] today to schedule your Complimentary Mediation Success Planning Session. You can also sign up for our eNewsletter or download our free guide for more information regarding divorce in Massachusetts.