Alimony a Critical Issue During Divorces in Highland, elsewhere

Massachusetts has signed into law a sweeping overhaul and limits on alimony payments, The New York Times reports.

In Indiana, assisting a client in alimony and child support matters is one of the primary responsibilities of a Highland divorce attorney. The two are not interchangeable and have different tax implications. A judge may award support based on the length of the marriage, the earnings power of one or both spouses, parental responsibilities or any number of other factors. 701013_writing_a_check_2.jpg

Child support and alimony laws in Indiana is complex. And an alimony award may influence a property distribution. In cases in which spouses cannot agree on alimony, the court will decide the issue based on a number of factors.

-Physical or mental disabilities that may preclude one spouse from working.

-Whether the spouse lacks sufficient property to provide for his or her needs.

-A spouse is the custodian of a child whose needs require the custodian to forgo employment.

-Education level of each spouse.

-Whether the interruption of a spouse’s education occurred because of duties at home, including child care.

-Earnings capacity of each spouse. As well as training, skills and employability.

-Time required to acquire such skills or education.

In Massachusetts, the previous system permitted lifelong alimony payments after both short and long-term marriages. Most states limit alimony in short-term situations. Massachusetts law often required payments to continue long after a spouse retired or the receiving spouse moved in with a new partner. The new law permits most payments to stop upon retirement and sets limits based on length of marriage.

Under the new law, a marriage of five years or less may require alimony payments for half the length of the marriage. Long-term marriages of 15 or 20 years could require payments for up to 80 percent of the length of the marriage. Indiana spousal support laws permits a judge to award alimony temporarily or on a short-term or long-term basis.

The Wall Street Journal reports the law still permits judge’s to order indefinite alimony for long-term marriages. It also permits “reimbursement alimony” in cases where, for example, one spouse put another spouse through school.

Earlier this month, the Tennessee Supreme Court ruled lifetime alimony is inappropriate provided a woman is in reasonable health, has a decent job and was fairly treated during the division of marital assets.

Alimony has become a hot-button topic, particularly during the economic downturn. Studies suggest men have been harder hit than woman by unemployment and stiff alimony payments can quickly lead to financial ruin. Fighting for fair alimony is best done from the start of a case. Hiring an experienced Indiana family law attorney, and fighting for fair payments from the start, is much easier than attempting to have alimony payments reduced once an award has been granted.

If you need to speak to a Highland divorce lawyer, call Burton Padove for a free consultation. Call 219-836-2200.

Additional Resources

Alimony in Massachusetts Gets Overhaul, with Limits, By Jess Bidgood, The New York Times.