Guide to Spousal Support in Massachusetts
Spousal Support in Massachusetts
Recent changes have just occurred in Massachusetts that target spousal support law, and these changes have just taken effect on March 1st of 2012. Spousal support in Massachusetts now follows the guidelines and procedures of the Alimony Reform Act of 2011. This act sets up very defined rules and regulations, and these definitions will be explained below.
Four Categories of Spousal Support in Massachusetts
Under the Alimony Reform Act of 2011, there are now fours types of spousal support in Massachusetts. These different types of maintenance include the following:
1) General Term Alimony- this type of alimony is also known as periodic and consists of weekly payments for the duration of the terms
2) Rehabilitative Alimony- this type of maintenance is used to improve the earning capability of the supported spouse. The supporting spouse may be ordered to pay for the supported spouse’s schooling costs, but these types of payments are usually capped at five years.
3) Reimbursement Alimony- this type of spousal support in Massachusetts is intended to pay back the supported spouse for contributions they made toward professional training or education. If the spouse took care of the former spouse during medical leave from work or a similar situation and lost time from work as well, they may seek reimbursement alimony as well.
4) Transitional Alimony- this type of support may be used if the spouse needs to move a large distance or needs time to find a new job. This type of support cannot undergo modification in any way.
The Massachusetts Formula
Spousal support in Massachusetts is sometimes determined using a specific formula. A judge may either choose to use the calculation or not, but the formula works the following way:
Total amount of support = (Supporting spouse’s gross income – Supported spouse’s gross income) X 30-35%
The Alimony Reform Act also calculates a durational factor for spousal support in Massachusetts as well. The durational factors include the following:
1) Marriage less than 6 years: total length of marriage X 50%
2) Marriage from 6-10 years: total length of marriage X 60%
3) Marriage from 11-15 years: total length of marriage X 70%
4) Marriage from 16-20 years: total length of marriage X 80%
5) Marriage of 20 years or more: permanent
The new law requires endpoints for certain cases, though. If the supported spouse lives with another person for a period of 3 months in length, they may lose their spousal support in Massachusetts. Also, if the supporting spouse is of retirement age and qualifies for the United State Old-Age, Disability, and Survivors Insurance Act, they may not have to supply support payments any longer.
The duration of spousal support in MA is also determined upon the following conditions:
• Advanced age or chronic illness
• Tax considerations
• When the payer is providing health or life insurance for the payee
• Significant premarital cohabitation that included economic partnership
• The party’s physical or mental abuse by the payer
• The party’s inability to provide necessary living conditions because of a lack of property and/or employment opportunity
How do I file for Spousal Support in the state of Massachusetts?
There is no form for initially filing for spousal support within the state of Massachusetts. A court will either use the support calculator or similar measure to determine if a spouse needs support after their finances are overseen by the court. However, if you want to modify spousal support, you can reference form CJD108 Complaint for Modification of Alimony. This form can be located on the Massachusetts Court System’s government website, and you should file this form with your Court Clerk.