Are There Different Types of Alimony ?

  • By:Karpenski & Schmelkin

Although most couples enter into marriage assuming the relationship will have longevity, sometimes that just isn’t the case. It is often the case in marriages that one spouse is more financially dependent on the other.

Alimony is court-ordered support paid by one spouse to the other for a period of time after a divorce. Alimony is meant to provide spousal support to a spouse that has a need for support as long as the payer spouse has an ability to pay

There are various types of Alimony in Massachusetts:

Prior to the Alimony Reform Act (ARA) in 2011, Massachusetts law allowed for alimony awards without any time limits.  The ARA introduced types and limits to alimony orders and judgments.  There are four types of alimony:

General Term

This is spousal support paid to a former spouse who is in financial need. It is based upon the length of the marriage. The maximum duration of alimony is based upon the length of marriage:

Five years or less, the maximum duration general term alimony will be ordered is half of the number of months of the marriage;
10 years or less, but more than 5 years, the maximum duration general term alimony will be ordered for is 60 percent of the number of months of the marriage;
15 years or less, but more than 10 years, the maximum duration general term alimony will be ordered for is 70 percent of the number of months of the marriage;
20 years or less, but more than 15 years, the maximum duration general term alimony with be order for is 80 percent of the number of months of the marriage; or
20 years or more, general term alimony may be ordered for an indefinite length of time.
Rehabilitative

“Rehabilitative” alimony is temporary support. It is support paid to a former spouse for a limited time until the recipient spouse can become self-sufficient. Length of the marriage does not fact in to Rehabilitative alimony, however, the durational limit for “rehabilitative” alimony is five years. “Rehabilitative” alimony can end early if either spouse passes away, the recipient spouse remarries, or a certain event is initiated as mentioned in the divorce judgment. Under certain circumstances, rehabilitative alimony may be modified.

Reimbursement

The judge awards “reimbursement” alimony to compensate a former spouse for time, support, and resources invested into the other spouse during the marriage for financial stability. This could be a lump sum award or regular monthly maintenance. Although “reimbursement” alimony can last any length of time It is usually awarded for a finite period. Reimbursement alimony cannot be modified.

Transitional

The judge will award “transitional” alimony so that a dependent spouse is able to adjust to life after marriage. For example, one spouse may need assistance to move into another home or move to another state. Transitional alimony is only available for marriages that lasted less than five years. The judge can allow “transitional” alimony for up to three years.   Like reimbursement alimony however, transitional alimony is usually awarded for a finite period of time. Transitional alimony cannot be modified.

There are several types of alimony awards available and you need to know which one is right for you.For exceptional assistance with any aspect of your divorce or family law matter, contact the knowledgeable and experienced attorneys at Karpenski & Schmelkin, Divorce and Family Law Attorneys for more information.

Posted in: Alimony