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Factors that determine the duration of alimony in Massachusetts

On Behalf of | Jun 11, 2024 | Divorce |

Alimony, also known as spousal support, aims to provide financial assistance to a lower-earning spouse following a divorce. To ensure fairness for both parties involved, various factors influence how long the payments will last.

It is important for spouses ending their marriage to be aware of the factors that determine the duration of alimony following a divorce.

Length of marriage

Massachusetts uses specific guidelines based on the number of years the marriage lasted to decide how long alimony payments should be made. Generally, shorter marriages result in shorter periods, while longer marriages can lead to longer terms. In some cases, marriages lasting over a certain number of years may result in payments that continue indefinitely.

Age and health

The court considers the age and health of both spouses when determining the duration of alimony. Older spouses or those with health issues might receive support for a longer period of time. This consideration ensures that the spouse in need has support during times when their earning potential might decrease.

Income and employment

The income and employment status of both spouses also affect the duration. If one spouse cannot support themselves due to limited income or unemployment, alimony might last longer. Conversely, if the receiving spouse finds gainful employment, the length of support may be shorter.

Future employment prospects

A spouse’s future employment prospects can influence the length of payments. If the receiving spouse needs time to gain education or training to become self-sufficient, alimony may extend until they achieve this. This factor ensures that the spouse can become financially independent.

Household contributions

The court looks at the contributions each spouse made to the household during the marriage. A spouse who sacrificed career opportunities to care for the home or children might receive alimony for much longer. This ensures fair support for the spouse who contributed to the household in non-financial ways.

To better understand how long alimony payments may last, individuals can seek legal advice tailored to their situation.