When a married couple decides to separate or divorce in Massachusetts, the question of alimony duration becomes significant. Alimony, also known as “spousal support,” refers to court-ordered payments provided to a spouse who finds themselves in a difficult financial situation. This could be due to earning less income or having no income at all.
Jay Davis, a Massachusetts divorce attorney with nearly four decades of experience guiding clients through complex alimony settlements, can assess your circumstances and provide advice on whether you might receive alimony or be obligated to pay it. With extensive knowledge and expertise in Massachusetts family law, Jay and his legal team at Davis Law Group will work to establish an agreement that serves your best interests. To discuss your case, please contact us at 617-221-3548 or reach us online.
Types of Alimony in Massachusetts
Massachusetts judges have the authority to order four different types of alimony: general term, rehabilitative, reimbursement, or transitional support.
- General term alimony: This payment is based on the duration of the marriage and is intended for a spouse who is financially dependent on the other spouse.
- Rehabilitative alimony: This is a temporary support provided to a spouse who is expected to become self-supporting in the near future.
- Reimbursement alimony: It’s a one-time payment or an agreed-upon amount and duration designed to reimburse expenses related to education, vocational training, or similar endeavors.
- Transitional alimony: It’s a one-time payment or an agreed-upon amount and duration that support lifestyle changes or relocation following the divorce.
Alimony Duration in Massachusetts
Under Massachusetts law, the duration of general term alimony is determined based on how long the marriage lasted. In cases where the marriage lasted up to 20 years, the family court sets specific limits as follows:
- For marriages of less than five years, alimony will be awarded for a period of time that does not exceed half the duration of the marriage.
- For marriages lasting between 5 and 10 years, alimony cannot be more than 60% of the duration of the marriage.
- If the marriage lasted 10 years or more, but less than 15 years, alimony is limited to a maximum of 70% of the duration of the marriage.
- In cases where the marriage lasted between 15 and 20 years, alimony will not extend beyond 80% of the duration of the marriage.
- For marriages exceeding 20 years, the court may consider awarding lifetime or permanent alimony.
These guidelines help determine the duration of general term alimony in Massachusetts based on the length of the marriage.
Alimony Termination in Massachusetts
The termination of various types of alimony in Massachusetts is subject to specific conditions. Here are the termination rules for each type:
General term alimony ends under the following circumstances:
- Remarriage of the supported spouse
- Cohabitation of the supported spouse with an unrelated person for a period exceeding three months
- In the event of the death of either spouse
Rehabilitative alimony is generally awarded for a period of five years. Similar to general term alimony, rehabilitative alimony ends upon the recipient’s remarriage or the death of either spouse.
Reimbursement alimony concludes either upon the supported spouse’s death or on a specific date ordered by the court.
Transitional alimony cannot extend beyond three years from the date of the divorce. It automatically ceases if the recipient passes away.
At Davis Law Group, we offer robust legal representation to divorcing individuals in Massachusetts, handling all types of alimony disputes. If you seek a family law attorney in MA who understands the importance of safeguarding your financial future following a divorce, reach out to Jay Davis at 617-221-3548 or complete our online contact form.
Can Alimony in Massachusetts Be Extended?
In certain situations, family court judges in MA have the authority to extend alimony beyond the initially specified duration based on exceptional circumstances. This means that alimony may be prolonged if the recipient spouse is dealing with chronic illness or a severe medical condition that prevents them from financially supporting themselves. In rare cases, the payer might be required to continue making payments beyond the federal retirement age, considering these factors.
When substantial evidence demonstrates that the recipient spouse remains financially dependent on their former partner even after the designated timeline expires, some judges may deem an extension of payments necessary.
Can Alimony and Child Support be Paid Simultaneously?
There is no restriction on a Massachusetts family court awarding both child support and alimony. With that said, in many families, the available funds may not be sufficient to cover alimony in addition to child support. In cases where the non-custodial parent has a high income and the custodial parent earns much less, a portion of the funds allocated to the custodial parent may be assigned to alimony while the remainder is designated as child support. For more information, see our blog post on Supreme Courts newest ruling regarding this topic https://davislawgroupma.com/the-recent-ruling-in-cavanaugh-v-cavanaugh-is-sure-to-throw-family-law-into-a-tailspin/
What Happens to Alimony if My Ex Declares Bankruptcy?
Even if your ex declares bankruptcy, they are still obligated to pay alimony. Alimony and child support are non-dischargeable debts in bankruptcy, meaning that your ex remains responsible for making the payments even if they receive a bankruptcy discharge for other debts.
Can Men Receive Alimony in Massachusetts?
Yes, the alimony statute in Massachusetts is gender-neutral, which means that men can seek alimony in the same way as women.
Trust Our MA Alimony Attorneys to Develop a Strong Alimony Negotiation Strategy
Having a knowledgeable and dedicated divorce attorney by your side can significantly impact discussions regarding alimony with your former spouse. Jay Davis and his team of passionate family law attorneys understand what it takes to resolve conflicts and achieve your objectives.
As highly experienced and successful divorce attorneys in Massachusetts, we possess the expertise necessary to navigate the complexities of alimony matters. Contact us at 617-221-3548 or send us a message here to request a free consultation with an attorney at Davis Law Group today.
James H. (Jay) Davis III
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