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Alimony is an order by the court for one spouse to make monetary payments to the other spouse, both during the pendency of the divorce proceedings (called temporary alimony) and after the divorce. Alimony is paid by the spouse with the higher earnings to the spouse with lesser or minimal earnings, though it is not appropriate in all cases where there is a disparity in income.  Whether or not someone is entitled to alimony depends upon the need of the recipient spouse and the ability to pay of the payor spouse.   Additionally, the court will weigh the following factors in determining whether to order alimony, which are the same factors the court uses in uating the division of assets:

  • Length of the marriage
  • Conduct of the parties during the marriage
  • Age, health, station, occupation, amount and sources of income, vocational skills, and employability
  • Assets, liabilities, and needs of each spouse
  • Opportunity of each of the parties for future acquisition of assets and income
  • Contribution of each of the parties to the acquisition, preservation, and appreciation of the marital estate
  • Contribution of each of the parties as a homemaker to the family unit

Alimony laws are in the process of being reformed in Massachusetts.  If the reform initiative becomes law, the courts will have much more guidance in determining alimony awards. The attorneys at Kerstein, Coren & Lichtenstein have the experience necessary to pursue the interests of a divorcing spouse where alimony is an issue and zealously represent the client in negotiations and litigation.