ALIMONY IN MASSACHUSETTS
What Is Alimony?
Alimony is a legal obligation to provide financial support following a divorce. In other words, alimony is a court order to pay to help support an ex-spouse. Only people who are in the process of or who have already received a divorce may obtain alimony.
What Types of Alimony Are There?
Generally, there are four different types of alimony.
General Term Alimony is the periodic payment of support to a recipient spouse who is economically dependent.
Rehabilitative Alimony is the periodic payment of support to a recipient spouse who is expected to become economically self-sufficient by a predicted time.
Reimbursement Alimony permits the court to treat as a tangible benefit the assistance of a spouse in a short-term marriage to the other spouse while he or she attains a degree or specific employment training.
Transitional Alimony is the periodic or one-time payment of support to a recipient spouse after a marriage of not more than 5 years to transition the recipient spouse to an adjusted lifestyle or location as a result of the divorce.
How Long Does Alimony Last? When Do Alimony Payments End?
The type of alimony that the court may award depends upon how long the marriage was.
If the length of the marriage was 5 years or less, general term alimony can last for no longer than ½ the number of months of the marriage.
If the length of the marriage was 10 years or less but more than 5 years, general term alimony can last for no longer than 60% of the number of months of the marriage.
If the length of the marriage was 15 years or less, but more than 10 years, general term alimony can last for no longer than 70% of the number of months of the marriage.
If the length of the marriage was 20 years or less, but more than 15 years, general term alimony can last for no longer than 80% of the number of months of the marriage.
If the marriage was longer than 20 years, general term alimony can last indefinitely.
How Do I Get Alimony?
Alimony is most commonly awarded during the divorce process. If you are filing a complaint for divorce, you may include a request for alimony within that complaint. Alternatively, you and your spouse may decide to enter into a separation agreement that spells out mutually agreed upon terms of support.
If you are already divorced and your original divorce did not include alimony, however, you may file a complaint for alimony.
It is important to keep in mind that throughout this process, and generally any time that you have a court hearing about money, each party must file a financial statement. Put simply, a financial statement is a court form that requires each parent to list his or her income, expenses, and debts.
How Much Alimony Could I Get?
The amount of alimony awarded generally depends on the ability to pay by one spouse and the need by another. In determining an appropriate amount and duration of alimony, a court will consider the parties income, age, length of marriage, and child support obligation. Alimony may be awarded up to 35% of the payor’s income.
How Can the Law Office of Thomas R. Davis Help You?
Because there are so many steps that need to be taken to get alimony, it may be in your best interest to contact an attorney to learn more about the options available to ensure that the rights of your family and you are protected. If your goal is to get what you are entitled to, it is imperative to have a strong advocate by your side. Our law office is dedicated to helping individuals and families get through the alimony process as successfully and smoothly as possible.
If you have any questions regarding alimony, call us any time at (617) 431-3887 for a free, no obligation attorney consultation.
We take most divorce and family law cases on an income-driven basis so that inability to pay for an attorney does not hold you back. We are here to provide you with the quality representation that you deserve.