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Massachusetts Alimony

According to Massachusetts law, Part II, Title III, Chapter 208, Divorce General Provisions, alimony, which is also called spousal support, may be requested at any time in the divorce proceedings, including after the judgment and regardless of where the former spouses now live.

Massachusetts divorce law, Chapter 208 of the Divorce General Provisions, states that alimony is not awarded if the requesting spouse receives other property in the divorce.

The court may also consider the contribution of the spouses in the accumulation of marital assets and the role in the marriage.

When the court makes an order for alimony, it determines whether the payor has health insurance through an employer or organization, or if other health coverage available at a reasonable cost that may be extended to cover the support recipient. In Massachusetts, a divorcing spouse must cover the ex-spouse if he or she can do so.

In determining alimony, the judge examines the financial position of each spouse. The judge also considers the age, employment, other assets offered to the requesting spouse in the divorce, whether or not that spouse supports children as the custodial parent, the length of the marriage and the behavior of each spouse during the marriage. The judge considers the potential earnings of the requesting spouse. Once the judge has weighed all of the determining factors, the requesting spouse will commonly be awarded accordingly.

Types of Alimony

Alimony varies from case to case. In Massachusetts, courts may order temporary, short- and long-term alimony. Temporary alimony is granted at the discretion of the court during the divorce proceedings and before the final decree. Short-term alimony may be granted to allow the receiving party time to gain necessary skills. Long-Term, or permanent, alimony may be granted to a spouse who has significant needs, and is usually reserved for lengthy marriages.

Factors Considered by the Court

In Massachusetts alimony is discretionary. The amount of alimony varies from case to case depending on the factors analyzed by the judge during the alimony proceedings.

According to Massachusetts General Laws - Chapter 208 - Sections: 1A and 34), the court may award alimony to either party based upon a consideration of:

  • the length of the marriage,
  • the conduct of the parties during the marriage,
  • the age,
  • the health,
  • the occupation,
  • the amount and sources of income,
  • the vocational skills and employability,
  • the estate, liabilities and needs of each of the parties and the opportunity of each for future acquisition of capital assets and income.

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