February 14, 2014

Hot Report: Alimony Payments and Duration in Connecticut and Massachusetts

OLR Report 2014-R-0036 summarizes how the amount and duration of alimony are determined under Connecticut and Massachusetts laws.

Both Connecticut and Massachusetts laws allow for alimony orders in divorce cases.  In Connecticut, however, alimony may also be ordered in the case of an annulment and a legal separation. Massachusetts has four forms of alimony: general term, rehabilitative, reimbursement, and transitional.  This report focuses on general term alimony because the other forms apply only in specific circumstances.  

In both states, the court must consider a list of factors in setting alimony amounts and duration, including the (1) length of the marriage and (2) parties’ age, health, income, and employment.  Connecticut considers marital fault and the status of the custodial parent but Massachusetts does not.  In both states, the court may order the paying person to obtain life insurance or other forms of security for alimony payments that are due if he or she dies during the alimony period.  

Regarding alimony duration, Massachusetts law provides very specific limits and grounds for deviation.  Connecticut law does not set durational limits but requires the court to specify the basis for any indefinite or lifetime alimony order.  

In both states, with certain limitations, alimony may be modified when there is a substantial or material change in circumstances of either party.
For more information, read the full report.