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Massachusetts: The Alimony Reform Act

A recent hot topic in family law is alimony. I’m sure a lot of you have heard of the proposed legislation known as the Alimony Reform Act.

This Act aims to define, clarify and guide the Courts, and the litigants, regarding certain aspects of alimony. Amongst other things, the Act sets term limits, provides limitation of alimony amount, defines gross income, guides between the interplay of child support and alimony, reduces support for payments of health and/or life insurance, excludes second job or overtime income for modification of alimony and gives a standard for alimony extensions and for termination of alimony upon remarriage of the recipient.

The bill was passed in July by the Senate and last week, by the House. It was signed by Governor Patrick on September 26, 2011. This effective date of this Act is March 1, 2012.

You can read the proposed bill here: http://www.malegislature.gov/Bills/187/Senate/S00665

As always, with new legislation, new case law will be created in the future. In creating this bill, it is almost impossible to define every circumstance. Aspects that are not clearly defined, completely addressed or adequately described will require cleverly supported arguments to the Court for decisions to be made. This legislation will leave room for creative lawyering to represent your position and best interests in the up and coming future.

For the next few weeks, I will discuss certain aspects of the bill and the changes that it brings. If you have certain areas that you would like to hear about, I invite you to email me your request to learn more.

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