Barbara J. Katzenberg, Attorney at Law

The desperate efforts of some to avoid paying alimony

In some divorces in Massachusetts, the spouse who earns most will go to any lengths to avoid providing financial support to a former spouse. Only when one spouse asks for support will the court consider ordering alimony, and then only after holding a hearing to determine the need by one spouse and the other spouse's ability to pay. If the court orders spousal support, it will also determine the period for which it must be paid.

Spouses who are unwilling to pay alimony may find that it takes a lot of planning and lifestyle changes to escape such an order. Those who have those inclinations even before the marriage may include no-alimony directives in a prenuptial agreement. When a court considers spousal support, it will assess the lifestyle and income of each spouse. To convince a court of the inability to support a former spouse, some parties give up a lot of life's creature comforts.

Some people go as far as taking a pay cut, asking for a demotion at work and in extreme cases, spouses have been known to quit their jobs and file for bankruptcy to avoid having to pay spousal support. Those who go to these lengths may find that paying court-ordered alimony for the prescribed period may be more acceptable than living a life in which all pleasures are denied. After all, as the former spouse's circumstances improve, spousal support may be modified to a lower amount, and it will likely not be forever.

Divorcing spouses in Massachusetts who need financial assistance, even if it is for a limited period, need not hesitate to ask to be awarded alimony. Asking the help of an experienced divorce attorney may be an appropriate step to take. A lawyer can provide the guidance required to help a client who needs financial support -- regardless of whether it is through litigation or negotiation.

Source: divorce.lovetoknow.com, "How to Avoid Alimony", Marcelina Hardy, Accessed on Oct. 22, 2016

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