How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Ely Your Own Question
Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 102597
Experience:  Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
Type Your Family Law Question Here...
Ely is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

I live in MA. I own a home and have a separate unattached

Customer Question

I live in MA. I own a home and have a separate unattached guest house that I want to rent to my boyfriend. The tenants that have been renting it for two years will be leaving in December. They pay rent and their own utilities-utilities are gas and electric with their own meters. Would doing this affect my alimony?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Ely replied 1 year ago.

Hello and welcome to JustAnswer. Please note:This is general information for educational purposes only and is not legal advice. No specific course of action is proposed herein, and no attorney-client relationship or privilege is formed by speaking to an expert on this site. By continuing, you confirm that you understand and agree to these terms.

Oh boy. This is a very subjective question. So fair warning: there is no way to know 100% for sure ahead of time unless one's ex challenges this and then the Court decides.

Alimony in Massachusetts may be modified if there is a "material change" in the financial circumstance of one of the parties that warrants the modification. Schuler v. Schuler, 416 NE 2d 197 - Mass: Supreme Judicial Court 1981. What material change means is on a case by case basis, but is generally defined to be a prolonged illness by one of the parties, an unsuspected loss of income, a big raise, inheritance, etc. Moving in with another person who shares the expenses also counts as this.

One's ex can attack this on two grounds. First, he can claim that the rental amount itself is "material change in circumstances" that should be applied towards the alimony being modified. Second, he can attempt to claim that the boyfriend is really moving in, but he is renting the room just as a "guise."

The Judge would be the one to make the final decision. However, I would be amiss to say that this would indeed give the ex some argument to modify alimony. Perhaps not to void it completely, but the Court may be critical of the new arrangement as something closing in on cohabitation, or simply enough itself to warrant a "material change."

However note, this is not automatic. The ex has to file in court and PROVE the above, which may not be easy.

Please note: If I tell you simply what you wish to hear, this would be unfair to you. I need to be honest with you and sometimes this means providing information that is not optimal. Negative ratings are reserved for experts who are rude or for erroneous information. Please rate me on the quality of my information; do not punish me for my honesty.

I hope this helps and clarifies. Please use the SEND or REPLY button to keep chatting, or please RATE when finished. You may always ask follow ups at no charge after rating. Kindly rate my answer as one of TOP THREE FACES/STARS and then SUBMIT, as this is how I get credit for my time with you. Rating my answer the bottom two faces/stars or failing to submit the rating does not give me credit and reflects poorly on me, even if my answer is correct. I work very hard to formulate an informative and honest answer for you; please reciprocate my good faith with a positive rating.

Expert:  Ely replied 1 year ago.

Hello again. This is a courtesy check in to see if you needed anything else in regards ***** ***** question. I am simply touching base. Let me know. Thanks!