When a Massachusetts resident files for divorce they may also file for alimony, which is another name for spousal support. This is done through the county Probate and Family Law Court where they live. Alimony is the payment of money from one former spouse to the other and in Massachusetts alimony may take on a variety of forms.

Alimony may be paid in a single lump-sum payment or it may be paid periodically. It is important for readers to understand that alimony and child support are two separate financial obligations: alimony is used for the benefit of the former marital partner but child support is used for the benefit and support of the payer’s children.

Depending upon the length of a couple’s marriage the size and duration of a party’s alimony obligation may change. Shorter marriages are generally met with smaller alimony awards and may take on the form of transitional or reimbursement alimony. Transitional alimony is a spousal support commitment that helps the recipient prepare for life on their own. Reimbursement alimony is used to compensate a recipient for supporting a soon-to-be ex-partner through school or a training program that enabled the other to attain a better career.

Longer term marriages may result in rehabilitative or general term alimony. These forms of spousal support may endure for longer stretches of time but also both may be paid out in single lump sums.

Alimony can be an important part of a divorce and can help a financially dependent partner have confidence to move into their post-marital life. Family law attorneys can guide their clients through the process of filing for divorce and alimony in the Massachusetts courts.