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Can alimony payments be terminated

Massachusetts law does make provisions to terminate spousal support. If a spouse who is receiving support remarries or either spouse dies, the support will stop. However, the spouse making payments may be required to get a life insurance policy that will provide support after the paying spouse passes on. The length of the marriage may also play a role in determining when support payments may terminate.

For marriages that last for less than five years, support payments will last for no more than half the number of months that the marriage lasted. If a marriage lasts more than five years but no more than 10 years, support will last for 60 percent of the total number of months that the marriage lasted. Support will be provided for 70 of the number of total months the marriage lasts for marriages of more than 10 years and less than 15 years.

This number goes up to 80 percent for marriages of more than 15 years but less than 20 years. Payments may also be terminated if it can be proven that a spouse who receives payments is cohabiting with and has formed a common household with another person for at least three months. Such a household may involve multiple people who are economically interdependent or a household where one person is economically dependent on someone else.

While spousal support may be ordered as part of a divorce settlement, it may be terminated for a variety of reasons. Hiring a family law attorney may make it possible for those making support payments to modify an existing alimony agreement. This may be done by showing that a spouse has remarried or is being supported by another party. A judge may then determine that the paying spouse no longer is required to make such payments.

Source: General Court of massachusetts, "Section 49Termination, suspension or modification of general term alimony", November 03, 2014

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