Newburyport Family Law


Alimony is the term used to describe one or more payments that one spouse is required to make to the other after divorce. It can be a single payment, or a series of payments made over a period of time. The Massachusetts Alimony Reform Act of 2011 now defines four distinct types of alimony: General Term, Rehabilitative, Reimbursement and Transitional, and like the Child Support Guidelines, provides formulas for calculating the amount of a likely order, the length of time payments will be required and circumstances under which payments may be suspended, reduced or terminated.

General Term Alimony may be ordered if there is a significant difference in the parties’ incomes. The spouse with the greater income may be ordered to pay support to the spouse with the lesser income. The length of time General Term Alimony will be payable is based on the length of the marriage. Both the amount that will be payable and the period of time for which it will be payable may be increased or decreased in some circumstances. We will consider your particular case in determining whether General Term Alimony is likely to be ordered as well as the amount each payment may be and how long payments may be made.

Rehabilitative Alimony is similar to General Term Alimony. It is payable for a fixed period of time, generally not to exceed five years, to allow the recipient spouse to complete training or education or simply to find a better job. In this way it allows the recipient spouse to become economically self-sufficient.

Reimbursement Alimony is only ordered in marriages that have lasted fewer than five years. It is intended to compensate one spouse for their economic or non-economic contributions to the resources of the other spouse during the marriage, such as enabling the other spouse to get a degree or complete job training. If you were only married for a short period of time, we can determine if Reimbursement Alimony may be appropriate in your case.

Transitional Alimony is also only available in a marriage that lasted fewer than five years, and cannot be ordered for more than three years after a divorce. It is intended to help one spouse transition after a divorce, such as enabling a spouse to relocate. If your circumstances warrant an order for Transitional Alimony, we can let you know what to expect.

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