The goal of alimony is to help one spouse secure just payments from the other due to the change of life that a divorce brings. For this reason, alimony payments are necessary for many divorce cases due to one party being the “breadwinner” or making most of the income. However, in the state of Massachusetts, alimony payments are subject to various divorce situations.
How Length of Marriage Affects Alimony Payments in Massachusetts
The state of Massachusetts made statewide alimony rules based on length of marriage that affect alimony situations.
These time-related alimony rules are:
- Marriages of 5 Years or Fewer - Alimony payments cannot exceed 50% of the total length of the marriage. If the marriage was 4 years long, the alimony payments cannot exceed 2 years.
- Marriages of 10 Years or Fewer - Alimony payments cannot exceed 60% of the total length of the marriage. If the marriage was 10 years long, alimony payments cannot exceed 6 years.
- Marriages of 15 Years or Fewer - Alimony payments cannot exceed 70% of the total length of marriage. If the marriage was 10 years long, the alimony payments could not exceed 7 years.
- Marriages of 20 Years or Fewer - Alimony payments cannot exceed 80% of the total length of the marriage. If the marriage was 20 years long, the alimony payments could not exceed 16 years.
- Marriages of More Than 20 Years - The judge can award alimony for as long as they think it’s justified.
How Other Factors Influence Alimony
Time is not the only factor that plays a role in determining the length of alimony payments.
Factors outside of the length of the marriage that influences alimony payments are:
- The death of a spouse
- The spouse that receives alimony gets remarried
- The spouse lives with another person for longer than three months
- The spouse paying alimony reaches “full retirement age”
The Court Can Override Alimony Rules for Good Cause
The divorce judge can always override alimony laws if he or she feels that there is good cause.
Some of these “good cause” reasons include:
- A cheating spouse
- Domestic abuse situations
- Marital change of circumstances after alimony was decided
- Other reasons stemming from clear and convincing evidence
Alimony Payments Are Never Locked into a Divorce Decision
Divorce can end happily, but that depends in part on the length of time that alimony payments are made. Since judges can decide to change alimony payments over time, it is always important to contact a family lawyer who will fight for your rights of alimony. Judges can ultimately decide how long alimony payments will be, and for what reason alimony payments will be made. You need legal representation that will help your alimony payments be fair based on your divorce situation. A professional family law firm can help the judge see that various aspects of your divorce demand that alimony payments be operated with those aspects in mind.
Hiring a family law attorney can be the difference between just and unfair alimony payments. For this reason, call (508) 502-7002 for a free consultation concerning your alimony situation.