Barbara J. Katzenberg, Attorney at Law
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Women in Massachusetts can also pay alimony

Families in Worcester, Massachusetts, know the effect the economic crisis has had on their daily lives. As the prices of basic necessities increase rapidly, the income needed by these families also increases. For this reason, many wives have joined the workforce. And even before the most recent economic downturn, working women and mothers became commonplace. In the event of a divorce, however, this can affect how the court regards alimony.

Alimony is the monthly payment given to the low-income earner spouse in a divorce. Generally, spousal support can be determined based on certain qualifications such as income of spouses, age, health and financial condition. In Massachusetts, however, the Alimony Reform Act of 2011 was established in order to consider the length of marriage in determining the amount and duration of spousal support.

The main objective of alimony is to limit the financial effect of divorce on the spouses. In the past, the woman’s role in many marriages was to stay at home and take care of the children and the household, while the husband was the main provider of the family. That is one of the reasons why people believed that the low income earner spouse, which, in many cases was the woman, was typically granted alimony. Yet, that is not always the case anymore.

In this day and age, the woman may easily be the breadwinner in the marriage and almost 40 percent of those women earn more than their husbands earn. While this scenario is good news for the economy, it has certain disadvantages when it comes to divorce. As a result, more women are paying alimony to their former spouses.

These statistics illustrate that more marriages involve spouses who are both income earners and how the traditional mindset regarding alimony has changed. The trend also neutralizes the role of each gender in a marriage and what they need to deal with in the divorce.

Even though there are common misconceptions regarding alimony, it is a legal issue that still may need to be addressed. Alimony, as part of the divorce settlement, should be calculated based on the guidelines followed by each state, regardless of the gender. It may also be essential for spouses contemplating alimony to have the assistance of a legal professional to obtain reasonable results.

Source: Time, “The De-Gendering of Divorce: Wives Pay Ex-Husbands Alimony Too,” Liza Mundy, May 16, 2013

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