In order to work, marriage requires a constant balancing act between spouses. When the balance is lost, or one partner tires of what they perceive as a lack of balance, many marriages head toward divorce.

When it comes to settling a Massachusetts divorce, a spouse can ask the judge to award them alimony payments, to redress the financial imbalance going forward. The financially better off person makes one or a series of payments to the less well-off partner. These payments are separate from the division of assets. They aim to ensure both people can be financially independent after the marriage ends.

In Massachusetts, there are four types of alimony which a court can choose to award:

  • General term alimony: A regular payment made if one spouse depends on the other financially. How long you were married affects how long a judge will grant it.
  • Rehabilitative alimony: An amount paid to allow a person to regain their feet financially and undertake any training or education needed to do so. It is paid for a limited amount of time to a maximum of five years. There is the expectation that the person will be self-supporting by the end of that period.
  • Reimbursement alimony: A one-off or segmented payment to reimburse the part one spouse played to support the other through training or education. If the amount is segmented, it must be completed within five years.
  • Transitional alimony: A payment made to help the other person settle into their new life and aid with any relocation costs. If you have been married for over five years, this is not an option.

While you cannot change the past, alimony can help you to start again.