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When two parties legally marry, choosing to combine their assets, potentially have children and advance their careers together, divorce does not immediately separate every aspect.  The laws in New Hampshire and Massachusetts recognize the need for former spouses to support each other, to ensure neither is unfairly disadvantaged at the expense of the other.  For example, if one spouse put his or her career on hold during marriage to raise the children while the other spouse advanced his or her career, at divorce the working spouse may need to pay support so that both can maintain a substantially similar standard of living to what they knew while married.

Broadly defined, alimony is financial support provided to a spouse during and/or after a divorce which allows both parties to maintain a reasonable standard of living.  New Hampshire and Massachusetts alimony statutes provide formulaic guidelines for the amount and length of an alimony award.  While these guidelines exist, awards of alimony will also depend on the specific facts of the case, such as consideration of the following factors:

Length of the marriage
Age and health of the individuals
Standard of living enjoyed during the marriage
Property division
Each parties’ current and future earning capabilities
Child support
Conduct of the parties during the marriage

There are also different types of alimony, including temporary alimony and term alimony.  In Massachusetts, the laws also provide for rehabilitative alimony, reimbursement alimony and transitional alimony.  These different alimony options are generally defined as follows:

Temporary Alimony:  periodic support payments to or on behalf of a spouse while a case is pending.

Term Alimony: periodic support payments made to a former spouse for a period of time.

Rehabilitative Alimony:  periodic support payments to a former spouse who is expected to become economically self-sufficient by a predicted time, such as, without limitation, reemployment or completion of job training.

Reimbursement Alimony:  periodic or one-time payment of support to a former spouse after a marriage of not more than five years to compensate the former spouse for economic or noneconomic contribution to the financial resources of the payor spouse, such as enabling the payor spouse to complete an education or job training.

Transitional Alimony:  periodic or one-time payment of support to a former spouse after a marriage of not more than five years to transition the former spouse to an adjusted lifestyle or location as a result of the divorce.

Understanding the law will help you prepare for and adapt to alimony, if applicable to your case.

Smith-Weiss Shepard & Kanakis, P.C. can help guide you to a sound decision in regard to spousal support or maintenance.  We give you the facts you need in order to understand your responsibilities.

We work with other parties to reach a resolution in your best interest, but we will not hesitate to fight for your rights when necessary.