Susan Rossi Cook, Attorney and Mediator

The different types of alimony in Massachusetts

Alimony is an important part of the divorce process for both spouses. Both the paying spouse and the recipient spouse will want to know what type of alimony award might be made in a divorce and should understand the different types of alimony that are possible according to Massachusetts laws. Generally, there are four types of alimony that may be awarded including general term alimony, rehabilitative alimony, reimbursement alimony and transitional alimony.

General term alimony is financial support paid regularly to an ex-spouse that is financially dependent on the former spouse. The duration of general term alimony depends on the length of the marriage. The length of alimony generally depends on the length of marriage and varies based on if the length of the marriage was 5 years, 10 years, 15 years or 20 years. Rehabilitative alimony is financial support that is paid to an ex-spouse the court expects will be able to support themselves within a certain period of time.

Reimbursement alimony is financial support paid to reimburse for costs that an ex-spouse paid helping the other spouse such as enabling the spouse to pursue an education. Reimbursement alimony may be paid one time or regularly. Transitional alimony is financial support paid to help the ex-spouse receiving alimony establish themselves into a new lifestyle or location as a result of the divorce. Alimony can end when one of the spouses dies or is remarried and in some other circumstances. In addition, a modification can be requested based on a material change in circumstances and in some other circumstances as well.

Alimony is important for both the recipient spouse and the paying spouse to understand and be familiar with. The divorce process, and period of time following, it can be challenging which is why it is useful to understand alimony and other important divorce-related concerns and how the family law process can help.

Source:, "Different Types of Alimony," Accessed April 4, 2018

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Susan Rossi Cook, Attorney and Mediator


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