After being married for a number of years, one member of a couple may have become used to a standard of living while staying home with the kids, among other reasons. If the marriage ends, that Massachusetts resident may not be able to support him or herself without help. This is where alimony comes into play.
In order to determine whether alimony is appropriate, a Massachusetts court will consider numerous factors. One of the first things the court will look at is how long the couple was married. Then each party’s age, educational level and financial conditions are assessed. If one party has physical, educational or emotional limitations, the court may consider awarding alimony.
Of course, the ability of the other party to pay also requires attention, along with the standard of living the parties enjoyed during the marriage. These days, most courts will only award alimony for a limited amount of time during which the court expects the receiving party to become self-sufficient. This may require that party to participate in training or to obtain the education necessary to find gainful employment.
Whether a party is looking to obtain alimony or suspects that he or she will end up paying it, it would be a good idea to gather the appropriate documentation and evidence to either support or combat the question of need. The court will only have access to what each party provides, so it is important to be thorough. The parties do not have to rely on the court for a determination, however. They can also come to an agreement on their own and present it to the court for approval.