Termination of Alimony After Retirement

The Massachusetts Alimony Reform Act of 2011 provided for the first time durational limits on alimony awards based on the length of a marriage, and also for the first time included a presumption that alimony terminates upon the payor reaching full retirement age as defined by the Social Security Administration. https://www.ssa.gov/benefits/retirement/planner/agereduction.html

This change was a significant departure from life-time alimony awards typical of long-term marriages that existed prior to the enactment of the Alimony Reform Act. It important to note that although there is now a presumption that alimony will terminate upon the payor reaching full retirement age, it is only a presumption, which means that a recipient who is still in need of alimony past the payor’s retirement can present evidence to rebut that presumption. The recipient has the burden of showin that it is in the interest of justice and for good cause shown that alimony continue past the payor reaching full retirement age. 

The court has outlined a number of factors that the court will consider in determining if the recipient has show good cause to continue alimony past the traditional durational limits:

  1. Advanced age;
  2. Chronic illness;
  3. Unusual health circumstances
  4. Party’s inability to provide for their own support;
  5. Sources of earned and unearned income for both parties;
  6. Whether there is a requirement for payment of health insurance;
  7. Physical or mental abuse that occurred during the marriage that impacts a party’s ability to work;
  8. Whether or not there was significant premarital cohabitation between the parties;

If you have a divorce judgment that predates the Alimony Reform Act and you are uncertain whether alimony will continue past retirement age you should consult with a knowledgeable family law attorney who can help you plan for your future.