Alimony Reform signed by Governor Patrick and becomes lawby Ponichtera & DeNardis, P.C. on 10/28/11
The Alimony Reform Act is now law in Massachusetts. YOu may click on the title to see the law as it was signed by Governor Patrick. It was signed by Governor Deval Patrick on September 19, 2011. It will go into effect on March 1, 2012. This new law changes everything to do with Alimony in Massachusetts. The law finally provides guidelines for practitioners and those contemplating a divorce to know what to expect in an alimony case. There will be defined types of alimony for different purposes, including rehabilitative, transitional, reimbursement, and general term alimony. If alimony is appropriate in a particular case, except for reimbursement alimony, the amount of alimony will generally not exceed 30 - 35 % of the difference between the parties' gross incomes. For example if a Wife is earning $2,000.00 per week and her spouse is earning $500.00 per week, she may be subject to an alimony order of roughly one third of the difference of their two incomes or .33 x $1,500.00 = $500.00 per week.
The duration of alimony will also be determined by the new statute. For a marriage of 5 years or less, general term alimony shall not exceed one half of the number of months of the marriage. For marriages of 10 years or less, but more than 5 years, general term alimony shall not exceed 60 percent of the number of months of the marriage. For marriages of 15 years but more than 10 years, general term alimony will not exceed 70 percent of the number of months of the marriage. For marriages of 20 years or less but more than 15 years, general term alimony will not exceed 80% of the months of the marriage. For marriages of more than 20 years, alimony can be ordered for an indefinite time period.
Specific rules for cohabitation are included as a reason to stop alimony payments. Alimony will typically terminate upon the payor reaching normal retirement age as defined by the Old Age Social Security statute.
Modifications of current alimony orders are permitted within a certain time frame to have old orders comply with the new statute. This is good news for Massachusetts.
During this transitional period before the law becomes effective the law is not binding upon courts. No doubt the pending statute will influence their decisions however. If you want to know how the new law may affect you, please call us to make an appointment today.