Learn some basic elements on how alimony is calculated in Massachusetts.
One of the number one question we get asked as your expert source is “how is alimony calculated in Massachusetts?” Alimony calculations may seem like they require an advanced math degree, but there is some very basic guidelines surrounding the seemingly-daunting topic. We will outline those here and we highly recommend that once you get these basics, you contact one of our fantastic professionals to get specifics for your case.
What is alimony?
Alimony is the support payment from the spouse who as the ability to pay to the spouse who is in need of support for a reasonable amount of court-ordered time. There are 4 different types of alimony:
• “General term” alimony is for a spouse who is economically dependent.
• “Rehabilitative” alimony is to support a spouse until they can support themselves financially.
• “Reimbursement” alimony is to pay a spouse back for contributing to the financial well-being of the payor spouse.
• “Transitional” alimony is to help a spouse adjust to a lifestyle that divorce has changed.
Does every divorce involve alimony?
Alimony is ordered only if one spouse has the ability to pay it, and the other spouse needs support. It does not matter who filed for divorce.
How is alimony calculated and how does it get paid?
According to Mass.gov, the amount of alimony should generally not exceed the recipient’s need, or 30-35% of the difference between the parties’ gross incomes established at the time of the order being issued. It may be ordered to be paid weekly, monthly or possibly all at once depending on the circumstances.
What is the length of time alimony is paid for?
For marriages lasting up to 5 years, alimony is typically paid no more than 1/2 the number of months of the marriage
For marriages 5 up to 10 years , alimony is typically paid no more than 60% of the number of months of the marriage
For marriages 10 up to 15 years, alimony is typically paid no more than 70% of the number of months of the marriage
For marriages 15 up to 20 years, alimony is typically paid no more than 80% of the number of months of the marriage
For marriages 20 or more years, it may be indefinite
Why would alimony stop?
If the recipient of the alimony cohabitates for a continuous period of at least 3 months or remarries.
If either spouse dies.
If the spouse paying alimony reaches “full retirement age”.
Alimony can be one of the most important factors in your divorce as it can affect the years following the settlement. Knowing how alimony is calculated in Massachusetts can help you prepare your documents, information and expectations. Review the factors closely with your attorney/mediator and ensure you understand your specific situation and possible outcomes so you have the knowledge to plan effectively.