ex asks for alimony-four years later

            Posted on May 8, 2016 


Ex-wife asks for alimony- four years later

Q. After 16 years of marriage, my wife divorced me to marry another guy. She got about half our assets, but no alimony.

Four years later, she divorced her second husband. She got no alimony because she has a job and assets from our marriage. It turned out he married her for her money.

Now she’s dragged me into court seeking alimony. Doesn’t alimony end forever after she got married again?

A. So here’s the skinny. If, at the time of your divorce your ex-wife did not specifically waive past, present and future alimony and if the court did not consider awarding her alimony, then Massachusetts permits her to now ask for alimony under chapter 208, Section 34.

Because alimony was not previously considered, she doesn’t now have to prove a change in circumstances. You start from scratch. However, the case law requires the judge to consider the length of time between the divorce and the time of the request for alimony.

The judge must also consider all of the factors in Massachusetts chapter 208, Section 34 factors. That includes the length of and conduct of the parties during the marriage, contributions each party made to the marriage, and several other things. These are all listed on my website, www.nissenbaumhickey.com. In that process, your ex could also force your parents to tell her, generally, how much they’re worth to help the judge decide your likelihood of inheritance. (Also, see Vaughn Affidavit on my website).

In one case, after the divorce, a wife who had not asked for alimony at the time of divorce, asked the court to order her ex-husband to pay alimony because she was on welfare. That fact was clear and convincing evidence that she needed alimony.
That court also considered the public policy considerations. Simply, on one hand, the judge weighted the possibility of continuing to have the public till pay the wife welfare. On the other hand, after finding the ex-husband had the ability to pay was considered. So that fellow didn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of avoiding an order to start paying her alimony in an amount that got his ex-wife off welfare.

Now most judges look to see if alimony is to be paid and, if not, why not. In my experience good lawyers always include a waiver of all, past, present, and future alimony while people who represent themselves, not being divorce lawyers, just don’t know what to do to fully protect themselves from future problems.

Be wise and hire counsel. To paraphrase that great American philosopher Elvis Presley, “Don’t be cruel (to yourself).”