How is alimony determined?

How is alimony determined?

On Behalf of | Apr 5, 2020 | Firm News |

It is normal for you to have many questions when you are thinking about filing for a divorce. One of those questions may be in regard to alimony payments, how courts determine the payments and how much alimony your spouse should receive. 

Keep reading for more information regarding alimony in Massachusetts. 

How courts decide alimony payments 

According to, the courts consider several things to determine alimony payments, including the following. 

  • The length of the marriage 
  • The health of you and your spouse 
  • The age of you and your spouse 
  • The employment, income and employability of you and your spouse 
  • Contributions you and your spouse made to the marriage, both economic and noneconomic 
  • The standard lifestyle you and your spouse live and the ability to maintain that lifestyle 
  • Lost economic opportunities resulting from the marriage 
  • Any other factors the court deems relevant 

Alimony amounts and limits 

Aside from unusual circumstances or reimbursement alimony, the courts generally will not issue an alimony order that exceeds 30% to 35% of the difference between you and your spouse’s gross income. The court will exclude capital gains, dividends or interest income from certain assets when calculating this number. 

There are certain situations where a judge will issue a general term or rehabilitative alimony order, however, and the issued alimony order may not follow the above-mentioned limit. There usually needs to be a good reason for this, such as: 

  • Advanced age 
  • Chronic illness 
  • Significant, unusual health problems 
  • You have unearned income not accounted for in the divorce 

This list is not exhaustive but does highlight some common occurrences. If you happen to remarry, the judge will not use your new spouse’s income to determine an increase in alimony payments.