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Revisiting state's spousal support law and how it's terminated

A number of former spouses receive alimony on a monthly basis, typically based upon how long their marriage lasted and financial need. Many Massachusetts spouses are aware that spousal support is a certain amount of money paid from one spouse to the other following a divorce. However, there are reasons why alimony may be terminated or decreased if a spouse is living with someone.

Alimony reform is a growing trend, and one of the primary topics surrounding it is when the receiving spouse is cohabitating with someone else. If the receiving spouse is living with someone else, it's highly likely that his or her need for financial support is reduced. One of the reasons why alimony would be terminated while living with someone else is that the former spouse is also supporting the other individual. Another reason is that, by accepting payments while living with someone, the recipient is double-dipping.

Another reason is the strong possibility of violating the marital settlement agreement or final judgment. Lastly, cohabitating with someone has likely resulted in a social and financial interdependent relationship. While many people may view cohabitation as simply living under the same roof, it's also including shared responsibilities such as household shores and taking care of the kids.

Multiple factors can determine if spouses are entitled to receive spousal support in the first place. Understandably, most spouses are happy with receiving a portion of their former spouse's income on a monthly basis. While a former spouse can be ordered to pay spousal support for a number of years, the support can also be terminated if the recipient gets remarried or starts to cohabit with another partner. The family court system in Massachusetts typically awards or terminates alimony in accordance with state laws.

Source: The Huffington Post, "5 Reasons Why Alimony Should Be Reduced or Terminated if You're Living With Someone", Diane L. Danois, Oct. 27, 2014

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