The Four Types of Alimony in Massachusetts

Types of Alimony

The recent alimony law clarified the distinctions between the four types of alimony, but why does the type of alimony matter? It matters for a few reasons. The type of alimony explains the intent of the alimony, the duration of alimony, and whether or not the alimony is modifiable.

General Term Alimony: General term alimony is based on the duration of the marriage, and is modifiable upon a material change of circumstances. General term alimony can be suspended, reduced or terminated when the recipient spouse has maintained a common household with another person for at least three months. General term alimony generally terminates upon the payor attaining full retirement age.

Rehabilitative Alimony: Rehabilitative alimony generally shall not be more than five years, although it can be extended if unforeseen events prevent the recipient spouse from becoming self-supporting at the end of the term. Rehabilitative alimony can also be modified within the five year rehabilitative period.

Reimbursement Alimony: Unlike the other forms of alimony, reimbursement alimony does not follow the traditional calculation where the alimony amount is one-third of the difference between payor and recipient’s incomes. Once ordered, reimbursement alimony shall not be modified.

Transitional Alimony: Transitional alimony shall not last longer than three years, and transitional alimony shall not be modified, extended, or replaced with another form of alimony.