If you are a party to a divorce, it’s important to understand your rights. Whether you are the wife or husband, one important legal concept to understand when separating from your spouse is that of alimony. Unfortunately, there is an outdated misconception that only men pay alimony. The truth, however, is that either party in a marriage could be ordered to pay alimony to the other. Attorney Heather M. Ward can help you to understand the law and your rights, and potential obligations, under it. 

Do Women Make Alimony Payments?

Yes, either party to a marriage may be ordered to make an alimony payment. An order for alimony, like all others in a family law proceeding (including child custody!), is not based on either party’s identifying gender, but is instead based on a number of legal factors. As such, a woman could very well be ordered to pay alimony to her ex-partner in the event that she is the primary income earner and her ex is unable to support themselves.

How Is the Need for Alimony Determined?

Alimony is ordered when one party to the marriage is unable to support themselves financially without the support of the other party. Whether or not alimony is appropriate as part of a divorce judgment, as well as how much alimony should be awarded, is determined by factors such as:

  • Each party’s income and assets
  • The financial need of the recipient spouse
  • The ability to pay from the payor spouse
  • The quality/way of life maintained during the marriage
  • Lost economic opportunities experienced by either party due to the marriage
  • Any other factors the court finds relevant 

Factors That Impact Alimony Duration

While the factors above may impact the amount of alimony that’s ordered, the duration of alimony is primarily based on the length of the marriage. Per Massachusetts statute, a shorter marriage will yield a shorter spousal maintenance duration, whereas a marriage of 20 years or longer could result in an alimony order of an indefinite term. In addition to the duration of the marriage, the court has the discretion to break from the set limits in the event that special circumstances exist. 

Why You Should Work with a Divorce Lawyer

Regardless of your gender or your earnings, it’s important to work with a divorce lawyer when separating. A divorce attorney will protect your rights and help you to understand the law and your obligations. Your attorney will be responsible for representing you during the divorce proceedings and negotiating a settlement that serves you.

Attorney Heather M. Ward knows that there’s a lot on the line when you’re getting a divorce. For the legal help you need, call today at 617-903-8955 or use the intake form on our website to request more information.