In 2011, Governor Deval Patrick signed into law some changes to the
laws in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. These were the first time these
laws had been changed since 1785. The changes were prompted due to new
laws that allowed no fault divorce in the Commonwealth.
Impact of changes
Many people do not understand how these changes impacted divorced couples.
Some of the changes that were made included:
Alimony for life - this was perhaps the most significant change to alimony. In years past,
a spouse was ordered to pay alimony until the other spouse passed away
with no regard to their ability to pay. Today, payments stop when a partner
reaches retirement age.
New spouse recalcuation - when the partner paying alimony was remarried, the receiving partner
could request an increase in alimony based on the new spouse's income.
This is no longer allowed.
New term limits - partners can no longer collect alimony forever. In fact, there were more
strict limits put in for marriages under twenty years. While a spouse
may collect alimony until retirement age when a marriage has lasted twenty
years or more, there is now a cap on the amount of alimony that must be
paid for marriages under twenty years that ranges from 50 percent for
marriages lasting five years and goes up to 80 percent for marriages lasting
fifteen to twenty years.
Avoiding remarrying - oftentimes partners who are receiving alimony live with a new partner
so as to not impact their alimony payments. Today, the new laws state
that alimony may be reduced or eliminated when the receiving partner is
Many of these changes will have an impact on a spouses ability to request
a modification of an existing alimony order as well. If you need assistance
in determining how these laws impact your existing alimony order or if
you need help modifying an existing alimony order,
contact the Law Office of Robert W. Kovacs, Jr.. As an experienced Worcester Divorce Attorney, I can help you understand
how these changes may impact you.