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How does alimony work in Massachusetts?

On Behalf of | Sep 28, 2021 | Divorce |

Massachusetts courts may order one spouse to pay alimony to the other in a divorce. Either spouse can ask the judge for alimony during divorce proceedings.

Review this guide to learn more about how receiving spousal support works in Massachusetts.

Types of alimony

General alimony applies when one person depends on the other person in the marriage financially. If the court decides that the recipient can eventually become self-supporting, the judge can order rehabilitative alimony for a specified amount of time.

When the marriage lasted less than five years, the judge can order transitional or reimbursement alimony. Transitional alimony helps the recipient pay for a separate household after the divorce. Reimbursement alimony may be available when one spouse helped the other pay for job training or education during the marriage.

Length of alimony

The amount of alimony varies depending on the length of the marriage. Indefinite alimony applies only when the marriage lasted longer than 20 years. Otherwise, Massachusetts limits the length of spousal support as follows:

  • Up to 50 percent of a marriage lasting less than five years (no more than 2.5 years)
  • Up to 60 percent of a marriage lasting less than 10 years (no more than six years)
  • Up to 70 percent of a marriage lasting less than 15 years (no more than 10.5 years)
  • Up to 80 percent of a marriage lasting less than 20 years (no more than 16 years)

Understanding the factors that affect the alimony process in Massachusetts can help individuals plan for a solid financial future after divorce.