Alimony is the legal obligation to provide financial support to one’s spouse after a divorce. Alimony restrictions depend on the state of residence, with some states allowing lifetime support and others terminating payments after the recipient becomes self-supporting. Importantly, in September 2012, Massachusetts passed the Alimony Reform Act, which terminates payments when the person who pays alimony retires or after a 12-year period of alimony payments.
In 2007, the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML) attempted to construct a national formula that would serve as a “starting point” for alimony payments. The formula loosely suggests:
“…Take 30 percent of the payer’s gross income minus 20 percent of the payee’s gross income. That amount, when added to the gross income of the payee, should not exceed 40% of the combined gross incomes of the parties. The AAML suggests calculating the duration by multiplying the length of the marriage by a certain numerical factor…”
The formula is meant to serve as a rudimentary but standard place of reference. Significant factors such as the payee’s age, health, and potential minor responsibilities are also considered.
The conflict between adhering to a formula and weighing a judge’s decision is heavily debated. On the one hand, formulas offer a fair and predictable way of going through a very hard situation. On the other hand, court discretion allows for more personal, case-by-case review.
There is no doubt that divorce is a difficult time for both
parties. Often, it is important to discuss uncomfortable issues to prevent a
larger problem. If you want to know your legal rights when it comes to alimony or divorce in general, come to Bodner Shapiro Law Group – we can help you!