Financial Support After A Divorce
Perhaps the biggest question each person has after a divorce is “What will my life look like?” Many of their next decisions depend on finances. It’s normal to wonder and worry about how the bills will get paid. Parents with children want to make sure that their children’s lives are not overly disrupted and that their children are not being deprived of the necessities and the things that bring them joy.
I am family law attorney Donna Martin. I founded my firm, North Shore Family Law in Marblehead so that I could work one-on-one with people who are facing family law issues in Massachusetts. My mission is to find you the resolution you need as amicably and efficiently as possible, whenever possible.
How Alimony Works In Massachusetts
Years ago the decision on whether to award alimony and how much to award was left to a judge. Relationships and family dynamics have changed. Today there is no longer a lifetime alimony possibility.
Now there are clear guidelines that make alimony predictable and easy to understand. The duration of alimony depends on the length of the marriage. In 2022 alimony has to be granted according to this durations key:
- Five years or fewer: Alimony continues no longer than half the length of the marriage.
- Six to 10 years: Alimony lasts no longer than 60% of the length of the marriage.
- 11 to 15 years: Alimony lasts no longer than 70% of the length of the marriage.
- 16 to 20 years: Alimony lasts no longer than 80% of the length of the marriage.
- Over 20 years: The court has the discretion to award alimony for an indefinite period. Most awards in this category terminate upon the payor’s retirement age of 66.5 years.
An alimony award from a divorce that was finalized before the new law took effect can be modified. I have extensive experience with alimony including alimony from a marriage that included a business, multiple properties, multiple income sources and elevated income levels.
Paying Or Receiving Child Support
As an attorney with decades of experience in family law concerns, including international custody disputes in federal court under the Hague Convention, I am very familiar with what is and is not allowed when it comes to child custody and support. While there are state guidelines that are used to determine child support in Massachusetts, there are certain things that affect the amount of support. These include:
- The income of both parents
- Day care or child care costs
- Medical costs
- Social Security benefits that the child receives
- Where and with which parent the child lives
If all things are equal such as the income and the time spent with the child by both parents, it is likely, but not guaranteed, that no child support will be paid or received. If the child lives wholly with one parent who earns less than the noncustodial parent, then it is likely that the noncustodial parent will pay child support. Today, most courts recognize the benefits to the child when parents share custody. It is no longer assumed that the mother will have sole or primary custody. This shift in child custody has affected child support laws in most states.
Any time there is a significant change in income, either parent may pursue a modification to alimony or child support.
Speak About Your Situation With A Family Law Attorney
Because there are many factors that can influence alimony and child support, it’s best to discuss your situation with a family law attorney. Many couples can work together in mediation to resolve their family law matters. I can help ensure you understand your options. My mission is to get families to resolution as smoothly and efficiently as possible. Call 781-528-0038 or connect with me via this contact form. In Marblehead, I help clients throughout the area and surrounding communities.