Any Massachusetts divorce will have its share of inherent challenges, but if it is a high net worth divorce, the parties’ interests will largely be focused on property division, alimony and how these issues are handled. People who earn a significant income or have what could be considered wealth and substantial property could be perceived as being in a better position than those who are of lesser means. This is a misconception. Often, those who have more assets, income and earn more money will have greater debt. Splitting property can be complex as some items need to be sold, parties will dispute over who owns what and it can be the foundation for contentiousness. Alimony is also a vital part of a high asset divorce.
Before discussing the details of how alimony is determined, it is important to have a foundational grasp of what types of alimony can be awarded and the basis for these awards. For both the paying spouse with the significant income and the receiving spouse who might be a stay-at-home parent and not have the ability to maintain the same lifestyle, alimony determination is crucial. After the fundamental parts of determining alimony including retirement age and the length of the marriage, there are different justifications for alimony and its duration.
The types of alimony that can be awarded are rehabilitative, reimbursement and transitional. The goal of rehabilitative alimony is for the receiving spouse to get periodic payments so he or she will eventually be able to self-support and will no longer need to receive alimony. This can involve different steps to achieve that including:
- Seeking work
- Trying to find a more lucrative job based on the person’s current skills and education
- Getting job training or education
- Receiving a certain payment from the paying spouse based on a court judgment
With reimbursement alimony, there may be a single payment to the other spouse. This will generally be ordered if the marriage only lasted for up to five years. The goal is to compensate the receiving spouse for contributions to the paying spouse’s career advancement such as taking care of the home and children. This contribution ostensibly allowed the paying spouse to receive training, improve a business or get an education to advance his or her standing. This will warrant comparable compensation through alimony. Finally, transitional alimony is also for a marriage that lasted for up to five years. This is to assist the receiving spouse in adapting to the new lifestyle that became necessary with the divorce.
These are just some of the aspects of alimony that a person should understand as to how the court will decide what will be paid. The duration of the marriage, what the paying spouse can afford and what the receiving spouse needs are all part of the decision-making process. Having legal assistance experienced in family law may be essential to a case. Calling for a consultation could help with preparation and achieving a reasonable outcome.