Modifications to Alimony Are Still Possible in Massachusetts
Until March of 2012, alimony (also known as spousal support) was awarded on a case-by-case basis. There was no state formula used to calculate alimony, and people could receive or pay alimony for the rest of their lives, whatever their circumstances.
This changed in March, 2012, when a new alimony law went into effect. The Alimony Reform Act of 2011 changed the way alimony is awarded in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The duration of alimony now depends on how long the marriage lasted. The new law also provides for certain types of temporary alimony. At Law Group, P.C., our lawyers advise clients about their alimony options under the new law.
Reasons for Modifying Alimony
The new law also makes provisions for modifying alimony that is part of a divorce agreement if there are significant material changes in the circumstances of either spouse. These can include:
- The recipient spouse is shown to be cohabiting with a significant other
- The recipient spouse remarries
- Changes in income by either party
- Changes in health and needs of either party
- Job changes by either party
Judges Have Significant Discretion
Judges have significant discretion in matters of alimony modification. For example, taking a lower paying job and then seeking to reduce an alimony payment might not result in a reduction in the amount of alimony. A judge could say that the payor spouse chose to take that job, and thus the fact that his or her income is less than when the order was issued is by choice. However, if someone is laid off involuntarily and has to take a lower paying job as a result, a judge is more likely to agree to a modification that reduces the amount of alimony.
Extensions of Limited Alimony
Under the new law, alimony payments are usually limited to specific time periods. Obtaining an extension or seeking to reduce the amount of time alimony must be paid must be accompanied by clear and convincing evidence of as material change in circumstances.
At Law Group, P.C., our attorneys are well-versed in the Alimony Reform act and the changes that have resulted from it. We know how to structure a request for modification that meets the requirements of the new law. If you are seeking to modify the amount of alimony you pay or receive, talk to us first. We can help you understand how the courts will view your situation and advise you about your chances of success.
We Know the Judges and Courts Throughout Massachusetts
Because our family law attorneys appear in all Probate and Family Courts in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, we know how each judge is likely to respond to a particular request. This means that we can ensure that typical questions from that judge are answered and that all the evidence presented in support of your request is convincing and clear.
Call Us for Help With Alimony Modification
If you have questions about the new alimony law and how it might apply to you, it's important to get those questions answered quickly so you can determine your options. Call Law Group, P.C. to speak with a divorce and alimony lawyer about your situation. Call us toll free at 800-851-7724 or contact us online to schedule a free, no-obligation, consultation. With offices throughout Massachusetts, we can meet you anytime, anywhere.