Last week this Massachusetts family law blog discussed some of the ways that newly single individuals may face financial challenges after their divorces. In some cases, a person may be financially burdened when he or she is required to pay his or her ex-spouse alimony. An alimony-receiving spouse may feel financial stresses if the sum of money that is received each month is insufficient to cover his or her needs.
Courts generally scrutinize the financial situation of a couple to determine if alimony, or spousal support, is even warranted. Not every person who asks a court for alimony gets it; an order of alimony can depend on a number of factors. Those factors can include but are not limited to the couple’s standard of living during their marriage, the ability of the alimony-seeking spouse to support himself or herself and the length of the couple’s marriage.
If alimony is ordered, a court will often stipulate its duration at the time it is mandated. Spousal support may be short term or long term based on the needs of the couple. If a party feels that his or her alimony award is insufficient, he may be able to seek an alimony modification.
In some cases, however, an alimony-paying spouse may also seek a modification to his or her financial obligation if the financial circumstances of the receiving spouse improve. In many cases, alimony is not intended to serve as a permanent means of income for a receiving spouse, but rather to help that individual get on his or her feet after the end of a marriage.
Spousal maintenance or alimony is a variable factor in a couple’s divorce. It may not be ordered for all who seek it, and depending on the facts of a particular case, it may be modified after it is ordered. Legal professionals can provide interested readers with more information on this complex family law topic.