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Alimony Reform Act Part 2 – Types of Alimony

| Mar 26, 2011 | Spousal support |

In Massachusetts, a judge can order alimony in a divorce or not. An award of alimony will last until there is a change of circumstances. The only way alimony can terminate based on a period of time is if the parties agree. Without such an agreement, alimony lasts until a party dies, the recipient remarries, or a change of circumstances exists.
The proposed Alimony Reform Act will allow different types of alimony. The bill will allow General Term Alimony, Rehabilitative Alimony, Reimbursement Alimony, and Transitional Alimony.
General Term Alimony is the equivalent of alimony under current law. However, under the new law, the court will limit alimony to a period of time unless the court makes findings that alimony should exceed the time limits. The time limits start at 50% of the length of the marriage for marriages under five years and can be indefinite for marriages over 20 years.
Rehabilitative Alimony provides support while a spouse acquires skills to become self-supporting. This will allow support while a spouse gets an education or job training.
Reimbursement Alimony is not based on need but provides compensation for support or other contribution to the family. It is not unusual for one spouse to sacrifice their education and work while the other spouse gets an education.
Transitional Alimony provides support while a spouse “transitions” to a new location or an adjusted lifestyle. Usually, this would be a one time payment. Under current law, a court can order payments of this nature but it would be part of a property division order and not alimony. Allowing payments of this nature as alimony will give Judges more flexibility in making judgments.
The proposed law, with different types of alimony, will provide more flexibility and more fairness in divorce decrees.

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