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Searchable Massachusetts Alimony FAQs 3

Your one stop source for Massachusetts Family Law - Alimony FAQs 3

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  • Question #1: If I or my former spouse, ex-husband, or wife loses his or her job, business declines or fails, or our health fails, will the court reduce or lower my Massachusetts alimony or spousal support payments?
    Answer #1: It all depends on the circumstances surround your case and the details of the Massachusetts existing alimony order. The Court has the discretion to keep the existing order in place in some cases where the Court finds that the payor spouse voluntarily loses his/her job. If the Court finds that the payor spouse is no longer able to work due to health reasons, the Court will most likely modify the existing alimony order.
  • Question #2: What happens to my alimony or spousal support obligation if I lose my job in Massachusetts?
    Answer #2: If you lose your job in Massachusetts, you have a material change in circumstance that will allow you to file for a alimony modification to try and reduce your existing alimony order. However, there is no guarantee that the courts will approve the modification on this factor alone.
  • Question #3: Can I apply in Massachusetts for an increase in alimony or spousal support payment if my former spouse's ex-husband, or wife's income has increased or risen since the last alimony order?
    Answer #3: No! Unlike child support, once an Alimony order is entered, you will most likely be unable to change the alimony order as a result of your former spouse's increased earnings. 
  • Question 4: Will my alimony or spousal support payment in Massachusetts terminate or end if I were to move in with my boyfriend or girlfriend?
    Answer #4: If the alimony recipient is found to cohabitate with another person for a continuos period of at least 3 months, it is in the courts discretion to suspend, reduce, terminate, or end the recipient spouses general term alimony. The court can reinstate the original alimony award if cohabitation terminates.
  • Question #5: Does former spouse's cohabitation with a live in boyfriend or girlfriend support or warrant an alimony or spousal support modification in Massachusetts?
    Answer #5: A alimony modification is warranted if it can be shown that the alimony recipient has maintained a common household with another person for a continuous period of at least 3 months. The court can reinstate the original alimony award if cohabitation terminates or ends.
  • Question #6: How is MA spousal support or alimony calculated or determined?
    Answer #6: The courts will look at a number of factors in determining what type of alimony to award including the length of the marriage, age of the parties, health of the parties, income, marital lifestyle, economic and non economic contributions of both parties to the marriage, employment and employability of the parties, lost economic opportunity as a result of the marriage, and other factors as the court considers relevant and material. The four types of alimony they can award include general term, rehabilitative, transition, and reimbursement alimony. Alimony awards under the new Alimony Reform Act of 2011 sets specific guidelines on the levels and duration of alimony awards. Alimony awards generally should not exceed the recipients need or 30% to 35% of the difference between the parties' gross incomes established at the time of the order being issued. Income shall be defined as set forth in the Massachusetts child support guidelines. Depending on the circumstances of the case, the court may attribute income to a party who is unemployed or underemployed. While the alimony reform act of 2011 sets durational limits on alimony based on the length of the marriage, there are certain circumstances in which the court may deviate.
  • Question #7: Can lifetime alimony or spousal support be awarded in long term marriages in Massachusetts to a spouse or party that has the ability to work but chooses to not?
    Answer #7: The Alimony Reform Act of 2011 sets specific guidelines on the levels and duration of alimony awards. If the length of marriage is greater than 20 years, the court has discretion to make an alimony award for an indefinite length of time.
  • Question #8: Under what circumstances can an alimony or spousal support order be changed, modified, or terminated in Massachusetts?
    Answer #8: If there has been a change in circumstances that warrant an alimony modification, the general term alimony award may be modified in either the amount or the duration or both. The modification may be permanent, indefinite, or for a finite period of time. Unlike general term alimony, transition and reimbursement alimony is not modifiable.
  • Question #9: If my former spouse's (ex-wife or husband) trust income appreciates substantially and my income drops because of change in job or loss of a job altogether, can I apply for an Alimony (Spousal Support) modification in Massachusetts?
    Answer #9: Yes, you can file for a modification in alimony because of the material change in circumstance of your job and your former spouse's increased income from his/her trust.