Alimony should be based on the standard of need as measured by the station of the parties, that is, by what is required to maintain the standard of living comparable to the one the Wife enjoyed during the marriage. Grubert v. Grubert, 20 Mass. App. Ct. 811, 819 (1985) (citing Rice v. Rice, 372 Mass. 398,402 (1977)); Belsky. Belsky, 9 Mass. App. Ct. 852 (1980); Zildjian v. Zildjian, 8 Mass. App. Ct. 1, 14 (1979). Absent good reason, there is no justification for the lifestyle of one spouse to go down while the other remains high. Goldman v. Goldman, 28 Mass. App. 603,611 (1990).
Attorney Popovitch works with each client to determine and analyze their need and reasonable expenses. Understanding the marital lifestyle is a key component of determining need. Our firm has successfully received alimony awards during temporary orders and in Judgments after trial that ensured the client maintains the standard of living comparable to the one, they enjoyed during the marriage.
Popovitch Law LLC will analyze:
- Marital Spending habits to determine the marital lifestyle.
- Analyze the Spouse’s Need for Support in relation to the respective financial circumstances of the parties.
- Determine if a Spouse is voluntarily unemployed or underemployed.
Attribution of Income
Further, if a support provider is voluntarily earning less than he or she is capable of, Attorney Popovitch will seek to have income attributed to the support recipient. This is applicable to child support and alimony.
“Both the [Alimony Reform Act (act), G.L. c.208, §§48-55,] and the [Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines (Guidelines)] permit a judge to attribute income to a party who ‘is unemployed or underemployed.'” Emery v. Sturtevant, 91 Mass. App. Ct. 502, 509 n.10 (2017).
Attorney Popovitch has successfully attributed income to spouses in support cases where a spouse is capable of earning more with reasonable efforts. In those cases, considering a supporting spouse’s potential earning capacity, rather than the spouse’s actual income is appropriate.