Question: What is Alimony?
Answer: Alimony or Spousal Support is a legal obligation to provide financial support to a spouse during and/or after an action for divorce or separate support. The Probate and Family Court has the power to award payment of support from one spouse to the other. The Court may only order alimony in divorce or separate support cases. The person who “needs” alimony is sometimes called the “recipient”. If the Court determines the other spouse (the “payor”) has the “ability to pay”, it will order alimony payments for a certain period.
Question: How do I know whether alimony should be ordered in my case?
Answer: The Court decides whether a spouse is entitled to alimony based upon the facts of your case, and certain factors it is required by law to consider. The Court will also decide which of the following types of alimony is appropriate, again based on the law, applied to the facts of your case. The four different types of alimony are:
General term alimony: A spouse who is financially dependent on their former spouse will receive this type of alimony. The alimony statutes and Massachusetts cases give judges guidance and certain limits on how long alimony should last.
Rehabilitative alimony: If a spouse is expected to be able to support themselves by a predicted time, the Court may order payments to the recipient spouse until s/he no longer needs alimony.
Reimbursement alimony: If one spouse paid money to help the other spouse (e.g., for education or job training), the Court may order reimbursement alimony, either in a single payment or on a regular basis, but not for more than five years.
Transitional alimony: In a marriage of five years or less; if one spouse needs help settling into a new lifestyle or location as a result of the divorce, the Court can order the other spouse to make regular payments, or a one time payment of alimony.
At the Law Office of Bardsley & Gray, our attorneys have experience and skill in handling all types of alimony cases for our clients throughout southeastern Massachusetts, including Bristol and Plymouth County. Please call us at 1-508-985-0054 to learn more about Alimony.