As part of a divorce settlement in Massachusetts, the court may order one spouse to pay alimony, also referred to as spousal maintenance, to the other. Courts will make a determination about alimony based on a number of various factors, including the length of the marriage, the income of each party, the marital lifestyle, and more. There are four types of alimony awards in Massachusetts. To learn more, read the following or reach out to our alimony attorney at the office of Heather Ward Law for more information.
Four Different Types of Alimony
If a court does award alimony, it will be in the form of one of the following–
- General term alimony. If one party to the divorce is financially dependent on the other, the court may order general term alimony, which is alimony that takes the form of support that is paid on a regular, recurring basis. For how long alimony will last will depend, in part, on the length of the marriage.
- Rehabilitative alimony. If one party is currently dependent on the other but is expected to be able to support themself in the future, the court may order rehabilitative alimony. As the name implies, this type of alimony is meant to help the financially dependent spouse get on their feet until they are able to provide for their own financial needs.
- Reimbursement alimony. If one spouse contributed to another in some way–such as by making tuition payments to put the spouse through college–they may be entitled to reimbursement alimony. This type of alimony is designed to reimburse one party for contributions made to the other during the course of the marriage. This type of alimony is only available in marriages that last up to five years.
- Transitional alimony. Finally, there’s transitional alimony, which is similar to rehabilitative alimony in that it is designed to help one spouse settle into a new lifestyle or location after a divorce. This type of alimony is only available for those who have been in marriages lasting five or fewer years.
Lengths of Alimony Awards
As stated above, general term alimony is based, in part, on the length of the marriage. For marriages of 20 years or more, the judge has the discretion to award alimony for a time period they believe is fair–there is no limit. For marriages of between 15-20 years, alimony can be required for up to 80 percent of the number of months married. For example, if a couple was married for 16 years, or 192 months, alimony could be ordered for nearly 13 years. The maximum percentages decrease by 10 percent for every five years of marriage. For marriages of five years or fewer, alimony can be required for up to 50 percent of the number of months of marriage.
Get Help with Your Alimony Case – Call a Massachusetts Divorce Attorney Today
Alimony laws in our state can be complex. At the law office of Heather Ward Law, we can help. Call Massachusetts family lawyer Heather M. Ward today at (617) 903-8955 for your initial consultation and the support you need.