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Spouses whose marriages are ending know that alimony will probably come up. Whether you are the spouse seeking alimony, or the one from whom it is sought, you may naturally equate alimony with divorce. However, there are many myths that surround spousal support. If you and your spouse are in the process of divorcing, it’s important that you know the truth about alimony. The family law attorneys of LaFountain & Wollman P.C. examine some of the most common misunderstandings about alimony in Middlesex County.

Myth 1: Alimony is guaranteed

This is perhaps the most widespread misconception about alimony. The truth is that alimony is not guaranteed in every divorce case. A judge can only order alimony if one spouse truly needs it and the other spouse can actually pay it. If you are the spouse in need of alimony, you must convince the judge that you would experience financial hardship without it. And that the other spouse can afford to pay it in light of other financial obligations.

Myth 2: A spouse who works is not entitled to alimony

Many husbands and wives work at least one job and sometimes more to support the family. When asked to pay alimony, one spouse may argue that the other is working and therefore doesn’t need it. But whether one is working is not a decisive factor. The spouse may be struggling to support him- or herself, in which case alimony may be ordered. In other cases, a spouse has given up his or her career to raise children or support the other spouse’s career. Here, alimony may also be appropriate.

There are different types that may be awarded, depending on the circumstances. However, the fact that one or the other spouse has a job doesn’t necessarily resolve the matter.

Myth 3: Alimony is only awarded to the wife

Historically, alimony was requested by wives who had stayed home during the marriage to raise children. They either gave up their careers or chose to be homemakers, then found themselves struggling to enter the job market after divorce. Times have changed since then. Double-income households, with both spouses working, are now common. In many cases, the woman earns more than the man, potentially allowing the husband to ask for alimony.

Massachusetts law does not limit alimony to the wife. A spouse must show that he or she needs financial support and that the other spouse can pay for it.

Myth 4: Alimony can never be changed

Sometimes alimony can be modified. The spouse requesting the modification must show that there has been a substantial and material change of circumstances since the order was entered that justify the requested modification.

Representing Your Bests Interests in Massachusetts Divorce Cases

LaFountain & Wollman P.C. advocates for spouses on both sides of alimony matters. We can also assist with all other aspects of your divorce, whether they are resolved outside of court or at trial. To get started, give our office a call today.

About the Author
Attorney Nicholas J. LaFountain has extensive experience litigating and negotiating civil disputes of many types. He has been successfully representing clients in the courtroom since 2004.