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When can alimony be terminated?

Massachusetts residents who are going through divorce may wish to learn more about how rehabilitative alimony works. The purpose of rehabilitative alimony is to allow an individual some time to go to school or re-establish a career. It most cases, a spouse will receive rehabilitative alimony for five years or less. However, alimony payments may be terminated early in certain circumstances.

If the recipient spouse remarries, rehabilitative alimony payments will be terminated. If the divorce agreement specifies a particular event, such as the recipient obtaining a job or graduating from a training program or college, the payments may be terminated. Payments will also be ended if either spouse dies. However, in the case of the payor's death, the court may require that another method of providing financial security to the recipient is in place.

A divorce lawyer can work with a spouse to create a divorce agreement that is fair and equitable. If one spouse needs some time to establish him- or herself and become self-supporting, he or she might receive rehabilitative alimony for a specific period of time. If a couple can agree to the terms of a divorce agreement, a judge is likely to uphold it. However, if a couple cannot agree on some issues, a judge may devise an agreement based on standard formulas.

In the event that a spouse's circumstances change significantly due to illness, job loss or other factors, an attorney could help a spouse have rehabilitative alimony modified. The spouse who is requesting the modification would have the burden of proving that his or her circumstances have changed. Evidence could include medical records or proof of loss of employment. A judge will evaluate the evidence and decide whether to modify a divorce agreement. No information in this article should be construed as specific legal advice.

Source: The Commonwealth of Massachusetts, "Section 50Termination, extension or modification of rehabilitative alimony", November 04, 2014

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