Spousal Support & Alimony

The Massachusetts Alimony Reform Act went into effect on March 1, 2012, making major changes in how spousal support is handled in the Commonwealth. This not only affects new cases, it allows for modification of some alimony orders that were established before the law went into effect. Alimony is awarded so that the spouse who was not the primary earner in the marriage can continue to enjoy the same standard of living. Whether you are seeking alimony, believe you may have to pay alimony, or wish to modify or terminate an alimony order, Attorney Karen Lane can help. She is an experienced Massachusetts family law attorney who has in-depth knowledge of the new alimony laws.

Types of Alimony

Alimony is not automatic. The court considers many factors in determining whether to grant alimony and which type. Massachusetts grants four types of alimony:

  • General term – Long-term spousal support payments
  • Rehabilitative – Temporary spousal support, lasting no more than five years, paid while the recipient becomes self-sufficient by finding a job, learning new job skills, or gaining education
  • Reimbursement – For marriages of five years or less, reimbursement alimony involves a one-time payment or periodic payments meant to compensate the recipient for contributions they have made to the financial resources of the payor. These contributions may have been economic or non-economic.
  • Transitory – Also for marriages of five years or less, transitory alimony can be periodic for up to three years or paid in a lump sum, meant to help the recipient get established after divorce.

General Term Alimony Duration Limits

The Massachusetts Alimony Reform Act virtually eliminated lifetime alimony. There are statutory limits on how long a person can be forced to pay alimony, based on how long you were married:

  • Longer than 20 years – Indefinite
  • Longer than 15 years to 20 years – No more than 80% of the length of the marriage (in months), so if the marriage lasted exactly 20 years (240 months), alimony can last no more than 16 years (192 months)
  • Longer than 10 years to 15 years – No more than 70% of the length of the marriage
  • Longer than five to 10 years – No more than 60% of the length of the marriage
  • Five years or less – No more than 50% of the length of the marriage

General term alimony terminates upon remarriage of the recipient, the death of either spouse, or when the payor reaches full retirement age, and may be terminated or modified due to cohabitation for at least three months.

Alimony and Spousal Support Family Law attorney Karen D. Lane's office is located in the town of Sherborn, which is centrally located in Middlesex County, 3.3 miles directly south of the Mass Pike, on the Natick/Framingham town lines. Attorney Karen D. Lane represents family law clients throughout metro-suburban Boston in Middlesex, Norfolk, Suffolk, Worcester, and Essex counties. Please call attorney Karen D. Lane at 508-655-5513 or contact her online today to schedule your free initial consultation about spousal support and alimony.