Previously this Massachusetts family law blog discussed some of the historical bases on which alimony and spousal support laws rest. In sum, women were generally more financially burdened than their husbands after divorce due to the fact they traditionally did not hold down paying jobs outside of their homes. Alimony or spousal support was used to allow women to establish their own lives after divorce with the financial support of their former partners.
Now, however, it is not uncommon for husbands to perform the majority of work within their homes while their wives serve as the primary breadwinners for their families. Due to this shift in the delegation of work between husbands and wives, both men and women can receive alimony. Alimony can be paid from the payer spouse to the other for a period of time that is established by a Massachusetts family law court.
Regardless of whether a man or a woman is seeking to receive alimony from a soon-to-be ex-spouse, there are a number of factors that a court will examine. The court will evaluate how long the couple was married and what standard of living they experienced during that union. Among other considerations, the court will look at the capacity of the requesting spouse to earn an income on his or her own and will also evaluate how long the alimony should last in order for the requesting spouse to be prepared to function without it.
Traditionally, women received alimony because they spent most of their working years in their homes managing the responsibilities of their families. Today, both men and women serve that important function in their families. Because of this shift, husbands and wives are eligible to pursue financial support in the form of alimony from their former spouses.