Alimony Reform Act

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In 2011, Massachusetts passed the Alimony Reform Act, establishing a system of guidelines for determining the length of time alimony should last and how it is calculated. The most significant provision of the law is that it eliminates alimony for life and places caps on alimony duration. Under the new law, alimony ends at the payer’s age of retirement.

At David M. Gabriel & Associates, we have more than 25 years of experience protecting our clients’ interests and helping them obtain the support they need. Whether trying to obtain alimony, fight alimony or modify your existing alimony arrangement, we represent clients on both sides.

Do you have questions about how the Alimony Reform Act will affect you? Contact our law firm to speak with a knowledgeable attorney about your situation.

Caps on Alimony Duration

The Alimony Reform Act sets the following limits on the length of time spousal support may be awarded. The maximum alimony durations are as follows:

  • Marriages lasting more than 20 years – Alimony ends when the payer reaches retirement age.
  • Marriages lasting more than 15 years, but less than 20 – The alimony term may not exceed 80 percent of the number of months of marriage.
  • Marriages lasting more than 10 years, but less than 15 – The alimony term may not exceed 70 percent of the number of months of marriage.
  • Marriages lasting more than five years, but less than 10 – The alimony term may not exceed 60 percent of the number of months of marriage.
  • Marriages lasting less than five years – The alimony term may not exceed 50 percent of the number of months of marriage.

Other factors may also affect the length of alimony. Our lawyers can explain the factors influencing alimony duration and amounts.

Modifying Alimony

In general, alimony may only be modified if there is a material change in circumstances that would affect either a recipient’s need for support or the payer’s ability to pay. Under the new Alimony Reform Law, parties may pursue a modification even if no circumstances have changed after the following time limits have passed:

  • Alimony for marriages lasting more than 15 years, but less than 20 may be revisited on or after March 1, 2015.
  • Alimony for marriages lasting more than 10 years, but less than 15 may be revisited on or after March 1, 2015.
  • Alimony for marriages lasting more than five years, but less than 10 may be revisited on or after March 1, 2014.
  • Alimony for marriages lasting less than five years may be revisited on or after March 1, 2013.

If the person paying alimony has reached or will reach retirement age by March 1, 2015, alimony may be modified on or after March 1, 2013.

If You Have Questions, Our Attorneys Can Help

Do you have questions about how the Alimony Reform Act will affect you? Contact our law firm to speak with a knowledgeable attorney about your situation.

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