In the event of divorce, each party must make important decisions in various aspects of their lives: living arrangements, financial support, children, etc. Typically, if spousal support is to be determined, the divorcing couple will discuss it later in the proceedings, as the plan for division of property and other assets should be in place first. Massachusetts divorcing couples would be wise to know some points about spousal support, including how it is calculated and what can be done if the payor fails to follow through or either party’s circumstances change.
When an imbalance of income exists between the two parties in a divorce, one party may be entitled to spousal support from the other in order to provide the non-wage-earning or low-wage-earning spouse with an ongoing income. Individual state laws will dictate the amount of support. The calculation is based on several factors, including length of the marriage, the recipient’s need, the payor’s ability to pay, the age and health of each party and the couple’s previous lifestyle.
Divorcing individuals should know that spousal support can be modified in the future in the event that one party’s financial situation changes significantly, although modification would require more court time. As well, support can end before the assigned end date if either party dies or the recipient remarries. To ensure payments continue in the event of the payor’s death, the divorce agreement may stipulate that the payor must take out a life insurance policy before the divorce can be finalized. Further, if the payor becomes disabled or injured and can’t work, he or she may request that the support be modified. To prevent this situation from happening, the agreement may also state that the payor must have disability insurance.
Divorced individuals, as well as those people currently going through the process, understand how stressful it can be negotiating all aspects of a divorce, including determining spousal support. However, those individuals who ensure they are as prepared as possible will likely fare better. A Massachusetts family law attorney can provide valuable legal guidance for couples looking to begin the divorce process.