Chelmsford Alimony Lawyer
Understanding Massachusetts Alimony Reform
Alimony, also known as spousal support, is a major issue in many divorce cases. This is especially true when one spouse was a stay-at-home parent while the other worked full time. When the marriage ends, the non-working spouse can be at a significant disadvantage because he or she has not worked for many years. Alimony is intended to give that spouse the means to pay bills and have a reasonable standard of living.
A new Massachusetts law that went into effect on March 1, 2012, sets clear limits on the amount of spousal support that a spouse can receive in divorce. The law also eliminates lifetime alimony. It is very important that your attorney clearly understands the new law. Whether you are seeking or paying alimony, your rights must be protected.
I am Chelmsford alimony attorney Kevin P. Broderick, and I have nearly 20 years of experience handling divorce cases in Massachusetts. I always stay up to date on changes in our state's family law, and that includes alimony reform. Whether you will be paying support or receiving it, I can help you understand your rights and obligations and make sure you are protected throughout the divorce process.
The New Framework for Alimony in Massachusetts
For the first time, the new law makes alimony easier to understand and predict. There are no longer complications caused by terms like "temporary alimony" or "permanent alimony." Instead, there are clear guidelines for how long spousal support must be paid, based on length of marriage:
- Five years or less: Alimony continues no longer than half the length of the marriage.
- 6-10 years: Alimony lasts no longer than 60 percent of the length of the marriage.
- 11-15 years: Alimony lasts no longer than 70 percent of the length of the marriage.
- 16-20 years: Alimony lasts no longer than 80 percent of the length of the marriage.
- Over 20 years: The court has discretion to award alimony for an indefinite period.
As a skilled family lawyer, I can help ensure that alimony payments are incorporated fairly into your divorce settlement agreement.
What if You Are Already Paying Alimony?
If you got divorced before the new law took effect, you can petition the court for modification based on the new law. However, modification cannot occur until:
- March 1, 2013, for those were married five years or less
- March 1, 2014, for those married 6-10 years
- March 1, 2015, for those married 11-15 years
- Sept. 1, 2015, for those married more than 15 years
Contact an Andover Spousal Support Attorney About Cohabitation and Alimony Issues
Whether you are seeking spousal support or are obligated to pay, I can help protect your rights. To arrange a free initial consultation, please call 978-674-7146 or contact my law firm online. I represent clients in Middlesex County, Andover, Westford, Concord, and throughout the state of Massachusetts.