Armstrong Law, P.C.

Women in the workforce prompt changes to alimony laws

Women in Massachusetts and the rest of America are no longer staying home throughout their marriage. The stereotype of the stay-at-home mom has been changing rapidly for over a decade, with men now often playing the role of stay-at-home-dads.

In fact, Forbes estimates that 40% of American households have a female breadwinner. Women are taking greater financial responsibility for themselves overall with or without men being present in the home. For these and other reasons, states all across America are revisiting alimony laws to limit the amount of money stay-at-home spouses usually receive. This affects not just women who receive spousal support, but men.

According to, in Massachusetts, spousal support is dependent on the length of the marriage. In almost all instances spousal support is only temporary, unless the marriage lasted for more than 20 years. At this point, it is the judge who must make a decision about how long the payments should continue for.

There are also a number of provisions in place to bring spousal support to an end. These include the following:

  •          The receiving spouse remarries
  •          The receiving spouse lives with another partner for three months or more
  •          The spouse making the payments reaches retirement age
  •          The spouse making the payments dies

Many people continue to assert that spousal support is necessary for partners who have given up career opportunities, often at their partner’s insistence. Some raised children and others did not. However, every marriage and every divorce case is different, so whether or not a spouse is entitled to alimony should take those differences into consideration.

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