As a Massachusetts family law attorney, I'm often asked whether a spouse can receive both alimony and child support at the same time. The short answer is yes; it's possible to get both forms of financial support. However, determining the amount and duration of alimony and child support can be complicated.
In Massachusetts, alimony and child support serve different purposes. Alimony is intended to provide financial support to a spouse post-divorce, based on the ability of the paying spouse to provide support and the need of the receiving spouse. Child support is intended to provide for the needs of the children.
When determining alimony, Massachusetts courts will consider factors like the length of the marriage, income levels and earning capacity of both spouses, contributions to the marriage, conduct during the marriage, and more. For child support, guidelines take into account the income of both parents and the parenting plan for the children.
Since alimony and child support address different needs, it's possible for a court to order one spouse to pay both forms of support. However, the amounts and duration may be adjusted based on the total financial picture. For example, higher alimony payments may lead to lower child support payments, and vice versa. Or, alimony may be ordered for a shorter duration if child support is also being paid.
The key is that the total amount ordered for alimony and child support should be reasonable based on the paying spouse's income and ability to pay. The court does not want to leave the paying spouse without sufficient income to live on.
Every divorce situation is unique, so whether you will receive both alimony and child support depends on the details of your case. Be sure to consult with an experienced Massachusetts family law attorney to understand your options and protect your rights in your divorce. With proper legal advice, it may be possible to obtain both forms of support you need.
Disclaimer: The content provided in this blog is for informational and educational purposes only. It should not be construed as legal advice and readers should not act upon any information provided without seeking professional legal counsel. The author does not guarantee the completeness or accuracy of the information provided. This blog is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship between the author and the reader.