If the court orders you to pay alimony, you may wonder how long you will have to pay it. The court uses a formula under the law to help determine this.
Mass.gov explains that the formula uses the length of your marriage to determine how long alimony payments may last.
If your marriage lasted five or fewer years, then the recommendation for the length of alimony has a strict limit. Payments last for no longer than 1/2 of the number of months of your marriage. For example, if your marriage lasted 2 years or 24 months, then the maximum time for payments in 12 months.
For marriages from five to 20 years, the court uses a percentage guide to determine how long you will pay. For marriages five to 10 years, you pay for up to 60% of the number of months your marriage lasted. If your marriage was 10 to 15 years, you may pay up to 70% of the months of your marriage. A marriage lasting 15 to 20 years would qualify for payments up to 80% of the months of the marriage.
If your marriage lasted 20 or more years, then there is no time limit on how long the court can order you to make payments.
Keep in mind that the court has the final say for spousal support payments. While the law can set a top limit to how long you will pay, the court can award it for under that if the judge desires. The law acts more as a guideline for this type of order.