Massachusetts Alimony Laws

Alimony, also referred to as spousal support or maintenance, is court-ordered payment from one former spouse to another for a designated period of time. Alimony can result from contested proceedings, or be agreed upon through a court approved settlement agreement. Massachusetts alimony takes four different forms:

  1. General Term Alimony - Support paid to a former spouse who is financially dependent for a period of time determined by the length of the marriage.
  2. Rehabilitative Alimony - Support paid regularly to a former spouse who is expected to achieve independence within a predicted time.
  3. Reimbursement Alimony - Support paid regularly or one-time to a former spouse to repay costs paid by the recipient for the payer's benefit, such as enabling them to complete education or job training.
  4. Transitional Alimony - Support paid regularly or one-time to a former spouse after a marriage of 5 years or less for relocation and resettling costs incurred as a result of the divorce.

Massachusetts Alimony Laws Overview

Statute

Massachusetts Code Chapter 208, Section 34-37

Factors Considered By The Court
  1. The length of the marriage;
  2. The conduct of the parties during the marriage;
  3. The parties' ages and health;
  4. Their station, occupation, vocational skills, and employability;
  5. Their amount and sources of income and estate;
  6. Their liabilities and needs; and
  7. Their future prospects for acquisition of capital assets and income.
How Long Is Alimony Paid?

Most forms of alimony have a term set by the court. The duration of general term alimony depends upon the length of the marriage.

  • 5 years or less: no longer than 50% of the number of months you were married.
  • 10 years or less: no longer than 60% of the number of months you were married.
  • 15 years or less: no longer than 70% of the number of months you were married.
  • 20 years or less: no longer than 80% of the number of months you were married.
  • Longer than 20 years: the court may award alimony as long as they think is fair.

Courts may extend, reduce, or stop alimony for various reasons including death, remarriage, retirement, cohabitation with another partner, a material change in circumstances, and for other good cause.

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Additional Resources

If you have additional questions about Massachusetts Alimony Laws click on the links below for more information:

Get A Free Case Review From A Massachusetts Alimony Attorney

Whether you are seeking alimony, or your spouse wants alimony from you, the help of an experienced attorney can help ensure that the court hears your best arguments for fairness. The broad range of factors considered in the Massachusetts alimony process means that claims and defenses can become complicated and confused. Consider getting a free case evaluation from a local divorce attorney.  

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