ALIMONY and DIVORCE MEDIATION: How would the question of alimony in Massachusetts be handled in a divorce mediation setting?
Each divorce mediation attorney has a uniques process to tackle the 100 or so topics of divorce.
Here is one firm's process:
1. We review with the cienst the concept of the MAssachusetts Alimony law including its intent, the actual statute and the changes there have been to the concept in the last 5 years.
2We explain that spousal support is generally a needs based concept for a transfer of payment from one spouse to another for a period of time to allow both parties to meet their reasonable expenses on a somewhat equal footing.
3. We next explain that the party requesting alimony must show a "need", to meet expenses,he opposing party must have "an ability to pay" after payment of expenses and factoring in the subject of child support into the mix. (See blog on the interaction of alimony and child support)
4. The next discussion concerns limits on the amount to be paid, the limits on the duration of payment and under what circumstances alimony will terminate or be suspended.
5. Clients complete "1 year out" budget projections side by side for comparisons and use of realistic numbers.
6.The parties also review statutory factors used by the court to come up with a number if it is appropriate to have it considered.
7. By completing 1-5, the parties will identify shortfalls or surpluses based on a realistc future.
8.The parties will also use a calculation used by many attorneys and the court to apply the maximums allowed as to amount and duration. The parties will also hear the general tax effect of alimony rules subject to their tax advisor's advice.
9. The parties will discuss the amount and length of child support and its interplay with alimony, and to what degreet one party relied on the other for the household income.
Wher you think it is simplistic or overly complicated, this gives a couple a "court" look and "a non-court needs" look to consider.
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