Legal Excellence, Customized Approaches

What a new relationship may mean for an alimony order

On Behalf of | Jul 1, 2024 | Alimony |

Financial interdependence is common during a marriage. One spouse may earn more, while the other may provide more practical support for the family. The higher earner depends on the other spouse to handle aspects of daily life. The lower-earning spouse relies on their partner for financial support.

Both of them have to make major adjustments when the marriage ends in divorce. In some cases, the lower-earning or dependent spouse might qualify for alimony payments. According to Massachusetts law, the courts can order alimony in cases where one spouse has a need and the other spouse has an ability to pay.

Numerous factors influence the amount and duration of alimony order terms. Can a new relationship influence alimony obligations?

A payee’s relationship can affects alimony

One of the main considerations when a judge awards alimony in Massachusetts is the need of the dependent or lower-earnings spouse. The fact that they made career sacrifices for the benefit of the family is part of why their spouse provides them with financial support after the divorce.

If they start a relationship with someone else who can provide them with that same degree of economic stability, that could theoretically affect their eligibility for alimony. Alimony orders end prematurely if the recipient remarries. However, they don’t have to make a legal commitment to the new romantic partner. They simply have to begin cohabitating with them.

Three months of continual cohabitation with a new romantic partner is all that it takes to eliminate someone’s eligibility for alimony in Massachusetts. The spouses may end up going back to court, and the recipient may either lose their alimony entirely or start receiving far less because of the financial support that comes from sharing a living space with a new partner.

The payor’s relationship often doesn’t affect an order

If the spouse who pays alimony begins a new relationship or remarries, their new relationship does not end their obligation to their former spouse. Even though they may find themselves spread thin because of their financial obligations, they are unlikely to qualify for a modification just because they have started supporting a new romantic partner.

However, other changes in their circumstances, including medical challenges or the loss of a job, could potentially change their financial situation enough to warrant a review and possibly and modification of the alimony order.

Understanding the factors that influence alimony requirements after divorce can help people make the most of their financial circumstances. Those who learn about what affects alimony eligibility and calculations can potentially recognize when their situation warrants going back to family court.