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Long Term Marriage (22 years) and Alimony

My wife (45) and I (46) are in the process of divorce in the state of Massachusetts. We have been married 22 years, we have children 11 and 13. I have been the primary income producer for the family. Before children, my wife worked in a variety of fields and has degrees/certificates in executive assistance. When we decided to have children, we both chose to have my wife stay home with the children. Since having children, my wife has worked sporatically. In the past 3 years, she has become a level 3 (or 4) professional organizer and is highly thought of in that field.

My question is this: I have no problem paying child support plus any additional monies required for my wife to have. I would like this all under the catagory of Child Support, not alimony. For instance, if the minimum recommended CS value is 700 a week, I am willing to pay 900 a week in child support to ensure my wife can live. What I don't think is right is that in ten years, when my children are through college, that I should not have to pay alimony. Is this wrong?

I am giving her all of my 401k, 1/2 of my pension, paying for the children's college, paying for all expenses related to summer activities.


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If you and your soon to be ex-wife reach a divorce settlement, it is certainly possible that could avoid having to pay alimony by offering other incentives.  However, if the matter goes before a family court judge, it is difficult to predict with certainty how the issue of alimony will be decided.  Certainly, the length of your marriage and the fact that your wife has not worked consistently during the marriage will be factors the court considers in deciding the alimony issue.  I would discuss the matter with a MA divorce lawyer, someone who has been involved in many similar cases and can use that experience to make a more meaningful prediction re alimony.  Good luck.

Submitted Sun, 12/12/2010 - 12:48

You have some good ideas but I would suggest that you and your wife look at your needs now and your needs after the divorce; that will provide a common basis for your decisions. If the marriage was set up as a "partnership" then it is common to first divide the assets and liabilities equally and determine a fair amount of cash flow for both parties and the children going forward. Once the need is determined, then you will be able to fill the need by way of child support and either alimony or an additional property division to the party who is in greater need and less likely to be able to fill that need.
Alimony has its place and is not necessarily a bad thing if the amount and duration are fixed. Sometimes alimony is an advantage to both parties if the tax brackets make sense.
I would advise if it not too late, to consider mediation and if the assets warrant it to make part of the mediation the use of a certified divorce financial analyst.
It is very possible to please both parties, the children all at a very reasonable cost compared to litigation.

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