Are you familiar with the Massachusetts alimony reform law?

Put into place in September 2011, the new alimony law abolishes lifetime spousal support for many of those struggling in these economic times.

MassLawLib.com shares some of the important changes put in place by the Massachusetts alimony reform law.  Learn more about how this update could affect your current situation.

Alimony Reform Law signed

New Mass. Alimony Reform Law (H3617) signed by Governor Patrick yesterday sets limits on alimony and eliminates lifetime alimony. Limits include:

(1) If the duration of marriage is 5 years or less, general term alimony shall be no greater than one-half the number of months of the marriage.
(2) If the duration of marriage is 10 years or less, but more than 5 years, general term alimony shall be no greater than 60 per cent of the number of months of the marriage.
(3) If the duration of marriage is 15 years or less, but more than 10 years, general term alimony shall be no greater than 70 per cent of the number of months of the marriage.
(4) If the duration of marriage is 20 years or less, but more than 15 years, general term alimony shall be no greater than 80 per cent of the number of months of the marriage.
(c) The court shall have discretion to order alimony for an indefinite length of time for marriages longer than 20 years.

Further, cohabitation of the recipient spouse may end alimony:

(d) General term alimony shall be suspended, reduced or terminated upon the cohabitation of the recipient spouse when the payor shows that the recipient has maintained a common household, as defined below, with another person for a continuous period of at least 3 months.

The new law is effective for alimony judgments entered on or after March 1, 2012. Those paying alimony who want to file for a modification based on the new law must wait until:

  • March 1, 2013 for those who were married less than 5 years, or any payor who will reach federal retirement age (as defined in the law) before March 1, 2015.
  • March 1, 2014 for those married 5-10 years.
  • March 1, 2015 for those married 10-15 years.
  • September 1, 2015 for those married 15-20 years.

There are many more details in the law, including which assets are included and more.

While there can be several factors that the judge takes into account when evaluating your alimony case, there is no one determinative factor.  In Massachusetts, the divorce court can consider the following factors in an alimony case:

  • Conduct during the marriage
  • Length of the marriage
  • Ability of the supportive spouse to pay
  • Ability of the recipient spouse to earn
  • Current income level
  • Opportunity to acquire assets and income in the future
  • Occupational status
  • Professional degrees or licenses

It’s often in your best interest to speak with a qualified divorce attorney who is experienced in alimony cases and understands how to navigate the Massachusetts divorce laws.  Not only will the specific circumstances of your divorce affect your case, but the updated alimony reform in Massachusetts can drastically change your situation.

Contact the divorce attorneys at Revelli & Luzzo in Worcester so we can help guide you through alimony and the updated alimony reform in Massachusetts.