If you are facing divorce, you are likely worried about what the future holds. So many aspects of your life can seem uncertain, especially your financial future. Even after dividing the marital assets, you may fear the divorce will leave you shortchanged.
If you are financially dependent on your spouse and your spouse is able to pay, you may be eligible for alimony. Also called spousal support, it can help you get over economic hurdles after your divorce. Here is what you need to know.
The courts’ considerations
Many factors influence a spousal support decision. Judges consider how long the marriage lasted. They also weigh your age, social station and relative wealth. Judges may also evaluate your ability to support yourself, which means they can take into account your education, current occupation and job skills. Obviously, if you and your spouse signed any prenuptial or postnuptial agreements, they will factor in as well.
Types of spousal support
Massachusetts law outlines four types of alimony. One is general term alimony. This involves regular payments to the financially dependent party, perhaps until retirement. Another type is rehabilitative support. Here, the courts predict when you should be self-supporting, and order payments until that time. A third type is reimbursement alimony. This may come into play if you worked while your spouse completed a degree or other training and your marriage lasted less than five years. The fourth type is transitional alimony, often a one-time payment that covers the costs of relocation after a brief marriage.
A fair settlement
Alimony is often a contentious aspect of divorce; your spouse is likely to resist paying it. However, if alimony is appropriate, you have every right to ask for it. As with any legal issue, it can become complicated. Know the law, understand your worth and advocate for yourself. Your spouse may not recognize the value of the contributions you made to the marriage, but the courts will have the final say.