The length of the marriage is one of the factors the courts will consider when making determinations on how marital property will be distributed and how much alimony, if any, will be ordered. Massachusetts alimony laws have undergone recent reform, altering the marriage length classifications. These classifications are important because the length of your marriage will determine, in part, the type and amount of alimony you can receive. It is important to note that the length or duration of the marriage is calculated from the date of marriage to the date the initial petition or complaint is served upon the other spouse. The court must also consider the length of the marriage when making a determination on how to divide your property. All marital property must be equitably distributed between the two spouses. The property must be fairly divided. The judge will decide on what is fair after considering many factors. Marriage length is one of these factors.
The courts will consider the length of the marriage when ordering alimony. For short-term marriages, five years or less in length alimony may only be ordered for a maximum of 50% of the length of the marriage. For example, if you were married for four years, alimony may be ordered for up to two years. For marriages more than five years but ten years or less in length, alimony may be ordered for up to 60% of the marriage length. For marriages more than ten years but 15 years or less in length, alimony may be ordered for up to 70% of the length of the marriage, and for marriages longer than 15 years but 20 years or less in length, alimony may be ordered for up to 80% of the length of the marriage. In long-term marriages 20 years or more in length, the judge may order alimony for whatever duration he or she thinks is fair.
It is important to be aware of your rights and obligations during a divorce before you propose a property division or request alimony. This is true whether you are just getting out of a long-term or short-term marriage. Consult with an experienced Massachusetts divorce mediator to discuss your case in detail. The courts will take into consideration several factors when determining the equitable distribution of your marital property and any alimony orders. The duration of your marriage is just one of these factors, so speak with a divorce mediator to get a better idea of how these issues might play out in your divorce.
Do you have questions or concerns about the financials in your divorce? Mediation Advantage Services is here to help. Law Office of Polly Tatum, experienced in Massachusetts family law, can work hard to ensure your property division and support orders are appropriate given your unique circumstances. Based in historic Worcester, our firm serves all cities and towns throughout Massachusetts and Worcester County including, Auburn, Paxton, Leicester, Sutton, Grafton, Shrewsbury, Westboro, Northboro, Southboro, Holden, Sterling, Princeton, Worcester, Charlton, Millbury, Dudley, Spencer, Brookfield, Sudbury, Natick, Framingham, Hopkinton, Milford, Blackstone, Leominster, Fitchburg, Acton, Jefferson, Barre, Oakham, Cambridge, Newton, Marlboro, Lancaster, Bolton, and Hudson. Call our office at (508) 466-4679, fill out our online form, today to schedule your Complimentary Mediation Success Planning Session. You can also sign up for our eNewsletter or download our free guide for more information regarding divorce in Massachusetts.