Understanding Alimony in Massachusetts

Once you are divorced, there are several issues that can continue to leave you tethered to your ex. If you have minor children together, you will continue to co-parent them until they’re adults. You can also be tethered to your ex-spouse by alimony payments. Massachusetts law provides for need-based support. After 2012, changes from the Massachusetts Alimony Reform Act were enacted to ensure that the goals of alimony, to retain a dependent spouse’s quality of life post-divorce, didn’t come at the financial detriment of the payor spouse.

Common Issues Impacting Alimony in Massachusetts

Alimony can be impacted by several changes in the lives of the payor and the payee. Issues affecting the income of the payor and any status changes in the life of the payee could change the terms or even end alimony payments.

  • Cohabitation: Alimony payments exist to provide support to an ex-spouse unable to live in the manner to which they were accustomed during their marriage. If the alimony-receiving spouse remarries, all support payments cease. According to Title III, Chapter 208, Section 49(d), if the alimony receiving spouse is cohabitating over three months, alimony payments can be reduced or suspended. For both the payor and payee, this is a common issue that can be frustrating for both parties.
  • Retirement: Massachusetts law allows for the termination of alimony payments once the payor party can receive social security benefits. According to Title III, Chapter 208, Section 49(f), general term alimony can be terminated once the payor reaches full retirement age. Even if the payor decides to work beyond retirement age, that doesn’t give the payee grounds to request an extension to alimony payments. Alimony in retirement is a common complication, and the court recognizes how alimony payments can represent a financial burden for a payor on a fixed income and how it can be challenging for a payee who divorced later in life in need of continued financial support. Given the complications, an extension can be granted with convincing evidence to support the request.
  • Income Changes: Massachusetts law seeks to avoid putting alimony payments into place that put the payor in financial distress. As such, alimony payments should never exceed 30-35% of the difference between the payor and payee’s incomes. If one party’s income changes, the other party can seek a modification to alimony payments in court.

Get Modification Assistance From a Massachusetts Alimony Attorney

Petitioning the court for a modification to your alimony order, you will need to show a change of circumstance has occurred, altering your ability to pay or affecting the amount of future payments. The payor requesting the change must prove the court needs to review the settled matter.

To review, the most common issues impacting alimony may also warrant a modification to your original order. The following issues may qualify:

  • Loss of Employment
  • Salary Changes
  • Remarriage
  • Cohabitation

An alimony attorney can help you work on a modification request to address your issues and seek a solution that better fits your current circumstances.

Where to Start With Your Alimony Concerns

At the Law Offices of Rachel M. Matos, we are committed to helping our clients fight unfair alimony outcomes. Whether you are the payor or the payee, we ensure the interests of our clients are protected. Fair alimony is what’s best for all parties involved because stable and equitable awards decrease the likelihood of future issues. As we’ve mentioned, some issues can be unavoidable, and if you’re faced with an alimony concern requiring legal assistance, our firm can help. Contact our Massachusetts alimony lawyer today to schedule a consultation. We will review the details of your case and help you seek a fair resolution to your concerns. Call (508) 206-9334 today to get started.