Separate Support laws in Massachusetts
An action for separate support in Massachusetts alleges that one spouse has the ability to support the family but is not doing so. It can be brought by a spouse, a guardian of a minor child, or, if the family receives public benefits, the Department of Transitional Assistance. It can also be brought by a spouse who wants to remain married (for religious purposes, e.g.) but live apart from the other spouse. A judgment or court order on a Complaint for Separate Support attempts to enforce the legal duties of the couple while the marriage continues.
As with every action in the Probate and Family Court, there is a filing fee and a service of process fee. However, those of low income who complete and file and Affidavit of Indigency may succeed in having the filing fee waived. There cannot be any other actions for annulment or divorce or separate support pending at the time the complaint is filed.
Filing a Complaint
The party who files the complaint must prove one of the following:
- The other spouse has failed to provide suitable support.
- The other spouse has deserted the person filing the action.
- That there is justifiable cause for living apart even if the spouses are not currently living apart.
In addition to ordering one party to provide support, a Judge can address and issue orders that concern the parties' minor children and/or issues relating to a restraining order. If it is in the children's best interest, the Judge can also order one spouse to vacate the marital home for 90 days if it is in the children's best interests. Perhaps the biggest difference between a complaint for separate support and a complaint for divorce is that the division of the parties' assets and liabilities will not be addressed.
Attorney Kathleen A. Delaney, Esq. is a family lawyer in Woburn MA and will provide the legal support, knowledge and skills you need. She passionately advocates for her clients to obtain the best possible solution in an economically efficient manner. She will consult with you throughout the process to answer your questions, and give you realistic and practical explanations of your options.
If you have children, Kathleen A. Delaney, Esq. understands that their best interests coincide with your need to be financially and emotionally secure during and after the process so that you can provide for them. When you are vulnerable, it is important to have an experienced attorney on your side so that you are not taken advantage of by your spouse and/or the legal process.
Conveniently located in Woburn center, contact her for a complimentary consultation:
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