At Gallant & Ervin, L.L.C., our attorneys pride themselves on staying current as the laws in Massachusetts evolve. We are prepared to help you assess your alimony petition in light of the recent legislative changes regarding spousal support. We know alimony can be a contentious and emotional issue. We are prepared to vigorously represent your interests in and out of court. We will work diligently to protect your rights and achieve your goals regarding alimony and all of your other divorce issues.
Contact us today to learn more during a free consultation at our Chelmsford office by calling 978-256-6041.
Boston Alimony Reform Bill Lawyers Helping You Properly Calculate Spousal Support
On September 26, 2011, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick signed a new bill into law entitled An Act Reforming Alimony in the Commonwealth. This new law makes significant changes to how alimony is determined and calculated.
This is the first time formal guidelines have been set out concerning how the amount of alimony payments should be calculated. This new formula is based on the length of the marriage and sets specific alimony term limits. This schedule applies to all alimony judgments entered on or after March 1, 2012, but those parties who are already paying or receiving lifetime alimony can also seek a modification to an existing order.
Additionally, any calculation of alimony should generally not exceed the recipient’s need or 30 to 35 percent of the difference between the parties’ gross incomes. Our detailed and dedicated Lowell alimony attorneys can help you draft and petition for an appropriate alimony order that takes these limits into account.
This new alimony reform law also ends the common practice of Massachusetts family court judges awarding alimony as a permanent entitlement that can last a lifetime for a marriage of any duration. Judges still have discretion to award indefinite alimony for long-term marriages, but this law now makes this practice more of an exception than the common practice it used to be.
Other Family Law Situations That Can Affect Alimony
Under this new act, there are many other factors that can affect alimony as well, including:
- If a payer remarries, the new spouse’s income and assets cannot be used as a basis for seeking a modification to an alimony order
- Alimony can be suspended, reduced or terminated if the recipient spouse engages in cohabitation with another person for at least three months
- Alimony ends with the remarriage of the recipient spouse
- How child support affects alimony
- Health and life insurance payments can affect the general-term alimony amount
- An extension beyond the limits stated above will only be granted when a material change can be proven by clear and convincing evidence
This new law also sets out other term limits that apply for transitional alimony, temporary alimony, rehabilitative alimony and reimbursement alimony. For instance, in the case of some short-term marriages, a judge can order “reimbursement alimony” if one spouse, for instance, puts the other through school to help the receiving spouse get back on his or her feet once the divorce is finalized.
We will help you with every step of the process and advocate on your behalf during negotiations as well as in court. We understand the many tax, financial and personal issues that the alimony issue presents. Our goal is to help you reach the best resolution as quickly as possible so you can move on with your life.