Massachusset’s new Alimony Law and how it could affect You

The Massachusetts Alimony Reform Act was signed into law in 2011 and became effective a little over a year ago. This law brought about sweeping new changes in the way alimony is awarded in the state, and many orders issued prior to its enactment could be modified as a result. One of the biggest changes brought about by this act was the length of time a spouse may receive alimony. In the past, alimony was sometimes awarded for an indefinite period even when marriages lasted less than 20 years. The current law requires couples to have been legally married for at least 20 years before alimony will be awarded indefinitely. Those who were married less than that amount of time may receive spousal support for a period of time ranging from 50% to 80% of the number of months married depending on the length of the union. Alimony may be
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What You Need to Know Before Your Divorce in Massachusetts

A divorce can be an extremely difficult period for individuals. But if you proceed with your divorce without knowing how the laws apply to you, your stresses can become legal and financial boondoggles that disrupt your life completely. For Massachusetts residents, here are two important areas of divorce law you should be aware of: Property Division In compliance with the General Laws of Massachusetts Chapter 208-27, property is divided based on the vocational skill or employment capability of each spouse, the contribution of each spouse to the home, the necessities of each party for capital, the length of the marriage, the conduct of each spouse throughout the marriage, and the age and physical health of each spouse. If you are the primary source of income in the marriage, for example, you may find that your spouse is the primary beneficiary of the settlement.
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Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines

COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS CHILD SUPPORT GUIDELINES Reference: Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines Worksheet Preamble These guidelines shall take effect on January 1, 2009 and shall be applied to all child support orders and judgments entered after the effective date. There shall be a rebuttable presumption that these guidelines apply in all cases establishing or modifying a child support order. Existing orders and judgments less than three years old as of the effective date of these guidelines shall not be modified unless the income of one or both parties has changed or other new circumstance warrants modification. In recognition of the priority of the interests of the children of the Commonwealth, these child support guidelines are formulated to be used by the justices of the Trial Court, whether the parents of the children are married or unmarried, in setting temporary, permanent or final orders for current child support, in deciding whether to
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Massachsuetts Alimony Reform Act Summary

On September 26, 2011, Governor Deval Patrick signed An Act Reforming Alimony in the Commonwealth. The effective date of this Act is March 1, 2012. This Act makes significant changes to alimony law in Massachusetts.  According to the Boston Bar Association “This measure will bring consistency in alimony orders, throughout the Commonwealth, and put an end to lifetime alimony.”  Pursuant to the new law the amount of alimony should generally not exceed the recipient’s need or 30 to 35 percent of the difference between the parties’ gross incomes. Here is the actual text of the Massachusetts Alimony Reform Law (opens in PDF) that was signed into law. Massachusetts Alimony Reform Law Summary Alimony Term Limits Long term marriages (more than 20 years): Alimony will end at retirement age as defined by the Social Security Act. 5 years or less: Maximum Alimony term is 50% of the number of months of
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