by: Amanda J. Shuman, Esq.

Published: December 12, 2017

 Everyone has seen enough television and movies to think that they have a good grip of what divorce is. So the first step of any divorce case we take on is client education. From my experience, here are four facts that tend to

  1. Not every case involves an alimony award.

Alimony is awarded based on several factors, including the length of the parties’ marriage, the employability of each party, the parties’ lifestyle and standard of living during the marriage, and each spouse’s economic and non-economic contributions to the marriage.  In other words – did one spouse rely on the other financially during the marriage?  Is that spouse capable of supporting themselves after divorce?


Generally speaking, the longer you were married, the more likely you are to receive alimony.  But, if you have minor children, child support will always be calculated first.


  1. Misconduct during the marriage doesn’t matter.

In a “no fault” divorce, the court isn’t concerned with whether or not your husband cheated on you, or whether your wife refuses to walk the dog.  The court wants to know whether your marriage is “irretrievably broken,” or if you think there is a chance that you and your spouse want to stay married.  Also, whether or not a spouse cheated or refused to walk the dog generally does not factor into decisions the court may make about custody.


  1. You have to pay child support – even if you’re not working.

Every parent must financially support their kids.  Child support is designed to balance the scales in terms of income that each parent has so that your kids have the same standard of living with each parent whenever possible.  But, if a court finds that you are unemployed or underemployed in order to pay less child support, the court can “impute” income to you and order that you pay support based upon that higher amount.


  1. You have to attend the parenting class.

Massachusetts requires every person who has kids under 18 to attend a court-approved parenting course.  The court will not grant your divorce without the class having been completed, so make sure to register and attend early on in the process.


Whatever step of the divorce process you’re in, give us a call! We’re here  to work with you so that you can make informed decisions about your family and your needs.

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