Massachusetts General Laws chapter 208 sections 48-55 (MGL c. 208 §§ 48 -55) address the issue of alimony or spousal support. Alimony is money paid from one spouse to the other, pursuant to a divorce or complaint for separate support based on the recipient spouse’s need and the payor spouse’s ability to pay.
There are four types of alimony:
- General term alimony: defined as the periodic payment of support to a recipient spouse who is economically dependent.
- Rehabilitative alimony: defined as the periodic payment of support to a recipient spouse who is expected to become economically self-sufficient by a predicted time, such as, without limitation, reemployment; completion of job training; or receipt of a sum due from the payor spouse under a judgment.
- Reimbursement alimony: defined as the periodic or one-time payment of support to a recipient spouse after a marriage of not more than 5 years to compensate the recipient spouse for economic or noneconomic contribution to the financial resources of the payor spouse, such as enabling the payor spouse to complete an education or job training.
- Transitional alimony: defined as 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.
Length of alimony
If your case provides for alimony, the number of months you will receive or pay alimony is based on the number of months you were married. These are called the durational limits. The durational limits are currently an area of development in the law. Recent cases (Holmes and George) have determined that alimony durational limits can be extended in the interest of justice. Most recently, the George case provided a framework for determining what exactly is meant by “the interest of justice.” If you are looking to extend your alimony order, we will review your separation agreement and advise you of your rights in this area.