How to Justify an Increase in Alimony in Massachusetts?

You’re worried your ex may be taking you back to court for more alimony – when is enough enough? Or you may be the one struggling from week to week to pay the bills and you need more support. What’s the likelihood that your alimony amount will be increased?

In order for an alimony award to be increased, the recipient must show there’s been a material change in circumstances since the last order and that the recipient’s financial needs have increased.

Under the most recently enacted MA Alimony Law of 2012, alimony, otherwise known as spousal support, can be ordered if one spouse is economically dependent on the other.

Alimony is primarily based on the recipient’s financial need and the payor’s ability to pay. Some of the factors on which alimony is based are: length of the marriage, age of parties, health of parties, income, employment and employability of both parties, contributions to the marriage, marital lifestyle, ability of each to maintain that lifestyle, and lost economic opportunity as a result of the marriage.

The amount of alimony is limited to the lower of the “need” of the recipient or 30-35% of the difference between the parties’ gross incomes.

Once an alimony order’s in place, if there’s a material change in circumstances warranting an increase, the recipient can file a complaint for modification making that request.

What constitutes a material change in circumstances warranting an increase? An example of why a recipient might file is if the recipient suffered a significant decrease in income. Or there may be an unforeseen new expense that increases the financial need.

In a modification case, the payor’s ability to pay and the recipient’s financial needs, along with the statutory alimony factors, are reexamined to determine whether an increase is necessary.

If you have any questions about an alimony modification, feel free to contact us for a comprehensive assessment.

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