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Terminating Alimony Payments

Under Massachusetts law there are a number of remedies available to spouse who pay alimony to modify, reduce or terminate spousal support


If a spouse who is receiving support remarries or either spouse dies, alimony stops.  A spouse who is ordered to pay alimony may be required to get a life insurance policy that will provide support after the paying spouse dies.  The length of the parties' marriage plays a significant role in determining when support payments may terminate.

Presumptive Durational Limits 

Marriages of five years or less allow for support payments of no more than half the number of months of the marriage to an economically dependent spouse. If a marriage lasts more than five years but less than 10 years, support may last for 60 percent of the total number of months that the marriage lasted. Support may be provided for 70 percent of the number of total months of the marriage for marriages of more than 10 years but less than 15 years in duration.  

This number goes up to 80 percent for marriages of more than 15 years but less than 20 years in duration. Payments may also be terminated if it can be proven that the recipient spouse is cohabiting with and has formed a common household with another person for at least three months.  Economic interdependence must be proven along with other factors.  

Alimony may be terminated or modified for a variety of reasons. Spousal support may be ordered as part of a divorce settlement.  A permanent alimony waiver may be negotiated as part of a divorce settlement or a post-divorce modification settlement. 

Hiring a family law attorney may make it possible for those making support payments to modify an existing alimony agreement. This may be accomplished by showing for example that a former spouse has remarried, is being supported by another party or no longer has a need for support.  

A judge may then determine that the paying spouse no longer is required to make such payments and a judgment will enter terminating the obligation.  

To discuss your particular situation and the options you may have to reduce or terminate your alimony obligation, contact the Law Offices of David M. Gabriel and Associates.

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