Alimony is a prevalent issue in most divorce cases. The Alimony Reform Act of 2011, which became effective March 1, 2012, changed dramatically how alimony is treated in the Commonwealth. The new law created four different categories of alimony: general term, rehabilitative, reimbursement and transitional alimony. Each category of alimony has different terms and conditions. Please note that the following is by no means an exhaustive list of the terms and conditions, but rather a brief summary.
- General term alimony is spousal support to an economically dependent recipient spouse that is paid periodically over a term determined by the length of the marriage
- Rehabilitative alimony is spousal support payments made periodically for a limited period of time, while the recipient spouse works to become financially independent. The amount of time these payments last is predetermined by the court, with a maximum length of five years.
- Reimbursement alimony is spousal support paid one time, or periodically for a short term, that is intended to compensate the receiving spouse for his or her financial contribution to the payer over the course of a marriage that lasted less than five years.
- Transitional alimony is spousal support paid one time, or periodically for a short term, that is intended to help the receiving spouse transition to an adjusted lifestyle or new location after the termination of a marriage that lasted fewer than five years.
What Factors Will Massachusetts Courts Consider?
The court must determine which type of alimony is appropriate, the amount of alimony to be awarded and the duration of time the alimony award will last. The court also looks at various factors in determining the amount of alimony, including, but not limited to:
- Age of both parties
- Health of both parties
- Employment and/or ability to find a job
- Contributions made by both parties to the marriage
- Marital lifestyle and each party’s ability to maintain it
Alimony is not guaranteed under the statute but rather is based on the need of the recipient and the ability of the payer to pay. At Sweeney & Associates, LLC our attorneys discuss with our clients what an appropriate alimony award would be based on the factors set out in the statute in conjunction with the facts of each individual case.