Alimony Reform Act Of 2011

Why is this important to know?

This reform is not presently the law; however, it is currently being debated in the Massachusetts legislature. It is important to know because the current alimony law makes it difficult to predict the way Courts will decide on the basic concepts of “needs” and “ability to pay” when one spouse in need requests support from another spouse with the ability to pay.

What is an example of the new Alimony Term Limits?

The proposed new law simplifies the award of alimony so the ultimate outcome on issues of alimony may be more predictable than in the past. By example, the new law more clearly distinguishes the duration of a marriage. Use of previous concepts such as, “short” or “long term” marriages is proposed to be replaced with clearer elapses of time, in 5-year increments. Thus, “If the duration of the marriage is ten years or less, but more than five years, general term alimony shall be no greater than sixty percent of the number of months of the marriage.”

What if the payor remarries, would the Court consider the new wife’s income?

Under the current law, the ability to pay might include the income a payor’s new wife brings into the new marriage. Under the proposed new law, the income of a payor’s new spouse will not be considered in any alimony modification action.

What if the recipient spouse begins to cohabitate with another person, or remarries?

General Term Alimony would be suspended, reduced or terminated when the payor spouse shows the recipient has maintained a common household with another person for a continuous period of at least three months. Alimony will end should a recipient spouse re-marry.

Would the amount of alimony be limited?

Yes, the amount of alimony should generally not exceed the recipient’s need or 30 percent to 35 percent of the difference between the parties gross incomes established at the time of the order being issued.

Would a payor’s second job or overtime income be excluded from a determination of ability to pay?

Yes, under the proposed new law, it would be presumed immaterial to an alimony modification if the payor worked more than one full time job, or, if their second job or overtime income occurs after the initial order for alimony.

What else can I do to learn more?

Phone the Law Offices of Gary M. Horwitz at (978) 250- 4646 to learn of other changes in the proposed new alimony law, and how those changes may affect your individual circumstances.

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