Alimony can be a very complicated issue in Massachusetts divorces. Many things can have impacts in cases involving this issue. This includes how long a couple was married.
For one, marriage length is among the factors courts in the state look at when considering if alimony would be appropriate in a divorce and how much alimony makes sense for the situation. So, it is part of courts’ general decision-making process on this front.
Also, it can impact what types of alimony could be issued in a divorce case. There are multiple kinds of alimony here in Massachusetts. Two of these types generally only can be granted in divorces involving marriages that lasted five years or less: transitional alimony and reimbursement alimony. Transitional alimony is aimed at assisting a spouse in adjusting to lifestyle or location changes brought about by the divorce. Reimbursement alimony is aimed at reimbursing a spouse for costs and efforts he or she put towards helping the paying spouse during the marriage.
Now, if a court decides to grant general term alimony, the length of the marriage can also impact how long this alimony would last. General term alimony is aimed at providing support to a financially dependent spouse. Length of marriage impacts what the maximum amount of time is that courts generally can order such alimony to last. For example, for divorces involving marriages 5 years old or less, the limit is half the length of the marriage (in months). Meanwhile, for marriages of over 20 years, there is no limit on the court’s discretion for length of a general term award.
Skilled divorce attorneys help individuals in Massachusetts get an idea of what effects their specific circumstances, including the length of their marriage, would have on what sorts of issues are likely to come up in their divorce in relation to alimony. Such lawyers can also provide guidance on what strategies to take when it comes to such issues.