Alimony/Spousal Maintenance Attorney: North Shore, Massachusetts

Attorney

Will alimony be a part of your divorce? It depends. The court has broad discretion in determining alimony obligations, and your lawyer's skill in presenting your case can make a significant difference in the outcome of the issue.

For dependable advice about protecting your interests on either side of an alimony dispute, contact an experienced Boston divorce lawyer at the Law Office of Annette Baker Doolin in Beverly.

Alimony Reform Law: How The Courts Determine Alimony

As complicated as the statute makes it sound, and despite the recent changes that have been enacted with the Alimony Reform Law, the main issue in an alimony contest will normally boil down to comparing one spouse's claim of need to the other spouse's ability to pay. A corporate executive can expect to pay a substantial amount of spousal support to a divorcing spouse who has never worked outside the home during a 25-year marriage. In a case where both spouses have professional careers with roughly equivalent present income and future earning potential, however, it is unlikely that either spouse will pay or receive spousal maintenance or alimony.

The cases with the most room for argument will generally involve divorcing spouses and circumstances such as the following:

  • Both spouses have sufficient education to support a middle-class income or more, but one spouse has interrupted his or her career to serve as a full-time parent or homemaker
  • The spouse seeking alimony has no earned income, but is an income beneficiary under a trust account, or expects a substantial inheritance soon
  • The spouse defending against a claim for alimony is voluntarily unemployed or underemployed
  • One spouse has supported another spouse through graduate school and now faces a loss of the financial results of that sacrifice

When Spouses Disagree On The Amount Of Alimony

If the divorcing spouses cannot agree as to whether or how much one spouse must pay to the other, the court will determine the question of alimony according to a fairly lengthy list of both mandatory and optional factors prescribed by statute. These range from the length of the marriage and the different incomes of the parties to the relative contribution of each in acquiring, preserving or increasing the value of the marital estate.

Contested Alimony Hearings

Because the factors that a family law judge would consider in a contested alimony hearing are very similar to those to be considered in a property distribution dispute, it is common to negotiate alimony claims, amounts and durations together with equitable distribution issues, especially in cases involving complex asset division problems. Alimony is taxable to the recipient and deductible for the payer, subject to IRS limitations. Sound tax planning in connection with both property division and alimony negotiations can serve to protect the marital estate so that both spouses can come out better than they otherwise might.

Contact An Attorney For Help With Spousal Maintenance

For comprehensive advice and surefooted representation on any alimony or asset protection issue in a Massachusetts divorce, contact Beverly alimony attorney Annette Baker Doolin at 978-712-4268 to learn how your situation can be resolved on favorable terms.