All About Alimony
Alimony is a court order or written agreement (contract) requiring one spouse to pay money to the other spouse for their support while they are separated, both during and after their divorce. Alimony also includes a distribution of property. With the recent changes due to the Alimony Reform Act and ongoing cases in the Massachusetts Supreme Court, you should consult a family lawyer to better understand how the facts in your situation could be considered.
In Massachusetts the Alimony Reform Act made material changes to how the court looks at alimony awards. Some, but not all, of these differences are detailed below.
Alimony Reform Act of 2013
- "New" classes of Alimony
Rehabilatative Alimony - Presumes that at some point the person receiving the alimony will become self sufficient by some determined time.
Reimbursement Alimony - Allows one spouse to be paid back for non-economic contributions made to the marriage, if over five years.
Transitional Alimony - For marriages under five years, to allow the spouse to relocate or adjust to their new lifestyle.
Long Term marriages (greater than 20 years): Alimony will end at retirement age as defined by Social Security Act
5 years or less: Maximum Alimony term is 50% of the number of months of marriage
10 years or less, but greater than 5 years: Maximum Alimony term is 60% of the number of months of marriage
15 years or less, but greater than 10 years: Maximum Alimony term is 70% of the number of months of marriage
20 years or less, but greater than 10 years: Maximum Alimony term is 80% of the number of months of marriage;
Other durational limits apply for Rehabilitative Alimony, Reimbursement Alimony, and Transactional Alimony.
Modification of Orders Existing Prior to March 1, 2012: Permitted although per 2015 there is still a need, as it was with the past law to justify a material change of circumstance(s).
If there are no other factors present in your circumstances warranting a modification, you may seek a modification as follows:
If married 5 years or less, on or after March 1, 2013;
If married 10 years or less, but more than 5 years, on or after March 1, 2014;
If married 15 years or less, but more than 10 years, on or after March 1, 2015
If married 20 years or less, but more than 15 years, on or after March 1, 2015;
If any payor has reached full retirement age, or who will reach full retirement age on or before March 1, 2015, on or after March 1, 2013.
The Supreme Court is now hearing and ruling on cases which further interpret the statute as passed by the state legislature. Link to 2015 Court Opinions
To understand how these changes can effect your situation consult with a skilled Family lawyer to understand your rights, options, and obtain advice.