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What is a fair percentage of gross income for alimony in Massachusetts?

Bedford, MA |

I'm active duty military and my wife decided to leave me after returning Iraq. I make ~$7700/mo (gross). Based Massachusetts' child support guidelines, I owe $494/wk in child support (which is ~26-32% of my monthly gross, depending on the month). We were married for 6 years and she was a stay-at-home mom the whole time. She has a B.S. degree in Business Administration. Do I have to pay additional alimony on top of the child support? If we can't agree and I don't want to pay any alimony, will I be ordered to? If so, what is a 'fair' amount for her to get back on her feet? What would a judge order? We're still amicable and I don't mind paying some alimony, but how much more than 32% of my gross is reasonable? Much more would force me to live off of one paycheck a month, after taxes.

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Attorney answers 3


Usually, no alimony is given on such a brief marriage.


Do you have to pay alimony, and what would a judge order are nearly impossible to predict. There are a number of factors that will be reviewed by the court to determine if any alimony will be awarded and for how long. Most divorces are resolved by agreement between the parties while the matter is pending. You should consider speaking with an attorney about the specific facts of your situation.

DISCLAIMER: This answer is provided in response to a "hypothetical" question and provided for general, informational purposes and does not create an attorney/client relationship. The information presented is not legal advice and may change based additional information and research. It is recommended that you speak to an attorney to discuss your specific legal issues.


Alimony is based on need and ability to pay. Unlike child support, there is no formula used in determining an amount. I strongly suggest that you consult with an attorney who can look at the global picture of your divorce to see what if any alimony you should pay.

Remember that alimony is tax deductable to the person paying it so it may make sense to adjust child support and alimony amounts to take advantage of the tax consequences.