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The various forms of alimony and who is eligible in MA

Although the idea behind marriage is that it will last for the rest of the spouses' lives, it's a fact that in Massachusetts and throughout the country a significant number of marriages end in divorce. One aspect of a divorce that is often misunderstood is alimony. Understanding the various forms of alimony that can be awarded from a spouse to the former spouse is an important issue as will who is able to request alimony as part of the settlement.

Alimony cannot be requested by couples that were not legally married. There are four kinds of alimony: general term alimony; rehabilitative alimony; reimbursement alimony; and transitional alimony. General term alimony is paid to a former spouse financially dependent on the former husband or wife. The amount of time for which this form of alimony will be paid hinges on how long the couple was married. Rehabilitative alimony will be paid on a regular basis to a former spouse who is be expected to be able to support him or herself at a designated time.

Reimbursement alimony will be paid on a regular basis or one time after a marriage that didn't last longer than five years. This is to account for the expenses the former spouse paid to assist the spouse who was paying. It includes paying a spouse to help him or her complete school or training for jobs. Transitional alimony is paid regularly or a single time after a marriage that didn't last for more than five years. It is to help a spouse who is being paid alimony to become accustomed to a different lifestyle due to the end of the marriage.

Either spouse is able to ask for alimony when there is a divorce. In addition, if there was an initial judgment in the divorce that didn't provide alimony, it is possible to file for alimony after the divorce. For many, alimony is an important issue because they need financial support as they move forward following a marriage that has ended in divorce. Questions and concerns about alimony can be answered and assistance can be provided by a legal professional experienced in this field of law.

Source: Mass.gov, "Alimony," accessed on Feb. 15, 2015

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