Massachusetts Spousal Support Attorneys
Spousal support, or alimony, can be one of the most difficult situations to deal with in the divorce process. The amount of alimony you pay or receive will have a major impact on your lifestyle going forward. It is important to have a lawyer on your side who will protect your rights and ensure that you obtain a fair outcome. At Percy Law Group, PC, our family lawyers will fight tenaciously to ensure that you are on sound financial footing after your divorce.
Massachusetts Has New Alimony Laws
Governor Deval Patrick recently signed into law the Massachusetts Alimony Reform Act of 2011. This law dramatically changes alimony procedures in Massachusetts. This law, which was passed unanimously by both houses of the General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, went into effect on March 1, 2012.
This law limits the duration of alimony payments based on the length of the marriage.
- For marriages lasting 5 years or less, alimony is limited to no more than half the length of the marriage. Therefore, for a five-year marriage, a spouse could be required to pay alimony for up to two and a half years.
- For marriages lasting between 5 and 10 years, alimony is limited to no more than 60 percent of the duration of the marriage. For a 10-year marriage, a spouse would be required to pay alimony for up to six years.
- For marriages lasting between 10 and 15 years, alimony is limited to no more than 70 percent of the duration of the marriage. Therefore, for a marriage that lasts 15 years, a spouse may be required to pay alimony for up to 10 and a half years.
- For marriages lasting between 15 and 20 years, alimony is limited to no more than 80 percent of the duration of the marriage. In a 20-year marriage, a spouse may be required to pay alimony for up to 16 years.
- Courts still have discretion to award alimony for an indefinite period of time for marriages that last longer than 20 years.
Courts also have discretion to award rehabilitative alimony, in order to give time for a spouse to become financially independent. Courts can also award reimbursement alimony in order to compensate a recipient spouse for economic or noneconomic contributions to the paying spouse. Lastly, courts can award transitional alimony in order to allow the recipient spouse to adjust to life after the divorce. Transitional alimony can only be awarded for marriages lasting five years of less. Further, courts have additional discretion to suspend alimony payments when the recipient spouse cohabitates.
Under the new law, individuals who wish to modify their alimony payments based solely on the new law may be required to wait some time, depending on the length of their marriage. We can explain when you are eligible to modify your alimony payments under the law.
Determining Spousal Support Payments and Duration
Massachusetts Probate Court judges have discretion to award spousal support, provided it is within existing guidelines, and the court's decision is based on the facts and the circumstances existing at the time the award is granted. The judge will examine, among other things, the following before awarding spousal support:
- The length of the marriage
- Age and health of the parties
- Occupations of the parties and their incomes
- Sources of income
- Vocational skills and employability of the spouses
- Assets and debts of the parties
- Any special needs of the parties
- The opportunity of the parties to acquire future income and assets
Whether you intend on paying or receiving alimony, our attorneys will give you candid advice as to your situation and will always be ready to answer any questions you have throughout the process.
Contact Percy Law Group, PC
In addition to our primary location in Taunton, our alimony lawyers maintain numerous offices across Eastern Massachusetts. Call us toll free at (508) 206-9900 or complete our contact form to get started. Spanish and Portuguese are spoken at our law firm.