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Massachusetts laws on spousal support

A number of former spouses receive alimony or some form of payment on a monthly basis. Spousal support is a certain amount of money paid out to ex spouses following a divorce.  In some areas, those who are paying spousal support may get stuck supporting the other spouse for years. As of 2011, Massachusetts prohibited permanent alimony and now adheres to certain guidelines.

Typically, if spouses are married for at least 10 years, they are entitled to receive alimony until they remarry or until death. These payments are made to the spouses who did not have an income or earned less than the paying spouse. As of 2007, the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers suggested that laws to alimony payments are changed throughout the country. This was done to limit the amount of alimony and the amount of years that it must be paid. In addition, payers of alimony are no longer obligated once they reach normal retirement age.

Furthermore, alimony is subjected to termination once the payee has lived with someone for at least three months. In New Jersey, the courts can terminate spousal support if the payer reaches the age of 67 or if the payee starts living with someone. Also, New Jersey marriages that lasted less than 20 years may no longer be eligible.

Several factors can determine if spouses are entitled to receive spousal support and for how long. These factors can depend on the financial circumstances of the higher-earning spouse and how long they were married. Subjects like this one usually fuel bitterness among divorcing spouses, and in those cases, civil litigation may be necessary. The family court system in Massachusetts typically resolves these types of matters and awards or terminates alimony according to state laws.

Source: The Huffington Post, "Alimony Reform Revisited", Fred Silberberg, Oct. 17, 2014

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