Alimony / Spousal Support

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What You Need To Know About Alimony in Massachusetts

Alimony is also known as spousal support in Massachusetts. Alimony is court-ordered support paid by one spouse to the other for a period of time after a divorce.

Alimony is paid by a spouse who has the ability to pay to a spouse in need of support for a period of time.

Who Is Eligible For Alimony?

Only people who are going through a divorce or are already divorced can ask for and receive alimony.

Either you or your spouse, or both of you, may request alimony at the time of divorce. If you did not ask for alimony during the original divorce or if alimony is not detailed in the final divorce judgment, you can request alimony for the first time any time after your divorce.

Additionally, alimony can be changed after a divorce through a process called a modification.

Types of Alimony

In Massachusetts there are 4 different types of alimony that may be awarded:

  • General term alimony. Support paid regularly to an ex-spouse who is financially dependent on the former spouse. The length of time general term alimony is paid depends in part on the length of the marriage.
  • Rehabilitative alimony. Support paid regularly to an ex-spouse who’s expected to be able to support themselves by a predicted time.
  • Reimbursement alimony. Support paid regularly or one time after a marriage of no more than 5 years to make up for costs that the ex-spouse paid to help the paying spouse, such as such as enabling the spouse to complete an education or job training.
  • Transitional alimony. Support paid regularly or one time after a marriage of no more than 5 years to help the spouse receiving the alimony to settle into a new lifestyle or location as a result of the divorce.

How Long Does Alimony Last?

How long general term alimony lasts usually corresponds with how long the marriage lasted.

  • Marriages of 5 years or less — Alimony can’t be required for more than 50 percent of the number of months you were married. For example, if you were married for 60 months, you could be ordered to pay or receive alimony for up to 30 months.
  • Marriages of 10 years or less — Alimony can’t be required for more than 60 percent of the number of months you were married.
  • Marriages of 15 years or less — Alimony can’t be required for more than 70 percent of the number of months you were married.
  • Marriages of 20 years or less — Alimony can’t be required for more than 80 percent of the number of months you were married.
  • Marriages of more than 20 years — The court can award alimony for as long as the judge thinks is fair.

Get The Appropriate Alimony In Your Divorce

If you would like to obtain or modify your alimony judgement, it is important to seek legal advice early to learn your rights and understand your options. We encourage you to call our office first. We take the time to speak with you to understand your situation and discuss how we will be able to assist you.

Understanding how alimony is determined in Massachusetts can be a daunting task. Our lawyers can help if you need to request alimony or if you experience a material change in circumstances and need to modify your alimony. Please contact us today to schedule a consultation and discuss your options.

We represent clients from Needham, Newton, Wellesley, Weston, and throughout Boston metrowest. 

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