Massachusetts Alimony and Spousal Support Laws
Massachusetts law allows the award of spousal support or alimony when parties divorce. The court will look at the circumstances of the parties, including conduct during marriage, to determine whether such support should be awarded in each case.
Types of Spousal Support
- Temporary – a party may seek this for the period between filing for divorce and final grant of divorce.
- Short-Term – the court may grant limited payments of spousal support when one party needs such to adjust to the changed circumstances.
- Long-Term or Permanent – the court may grant long-term alimony when it is needed based on the situations of the parties.
Who is Eligible for Alimony in Massachusetts
Massachusetts allows the courts to grant alimony to either party in a divorce. The party must be found to need support based on the factors outlined below.
Massachusetts Alimony Guidelines (Factors for Awarding Alimony)
The court may consider the following factors to determine whether to grant alimony and the amount and duration of any payments:
- Duration of the marriage;
- Conduct of the parties during the marriage; and
- Age, health, occupation, income, skills and employability, liabilities, opportunities and needs of each party.
Reasons for Termination or Modification of Alimony in Massachusetts
Termination or modification of support payments can be petitioned for in Massachusetts based on change of circumstances post-agreement. Remarriage, cohabitation and death can all lead to modification or termination of support.
Marital Fault in Massachusetts
Massachusetts allows both no fault and at fault divorces. The party filing must state the reason for the divorce. The court may consider fault when determining alimony awards.
How Long Does Spousal Support Last in Massachusetts?
The court will determine the length of support payments based on the needs, ability to pay, employability, and other circumstances of the parties. Length of the marriage is also an important factor in determining how long spousal support will be granted.
Massachusetts Alimony Taxes
Discuss the tax implications of your settlement agreement with a tax professional or an attorney who can advise you of your obligations. Generally, the receiver of alimony must claim payments as income and the payer of alimony may claim it as a deduction for federal income tax purposes.
Find an Alimony Attorney in Massachusetts
An attorney knowledgeable in Massachusetts’ divorce law can help you handle your case with care. You can find out your rights, responsibilities and how the law impacts your agreement. An attorney will advocate for your rights and protect your interests.