Alimony Bill One Step Closer to Becoming Law

Back in April, I wrote a post about proposed Massachusetts alimony reform.  I now understand that the bill has been reported out of the Judiciary Committee which usually means it will become law.

If it passes, it will reform a law that currently allows judges to grant “lifetime alimony.” Judges presiding over divorce litigation cases consider assets, the length of the marriage, employment, and other factors when deciding how much one spouse should pay the other in alimony.

Some Massachusetts divorce lawyers claim that judges often award lifetime alimony in long- and even short-term marriages, potentially creating animosity and a disincentive to settle cases.  President of the Massachusetts Bar Association, Denise Squillante, supports the bill because “the alimony friction is huge, it creates stress and tension, and it filters down to the kids.”

The law being proposed in Massachusetts would end lifetime alimony payments in most cases, and also place a cap on payments.  In marriages of 5 years or less, the bill would place the maximum alimony term at half of the number of months of marriage.  For marriages over 15 years, the maximum alimony term would 80 percent of the months married.  And for marriages of more than 20 years the bill would end alimony at the retirement age as defined by the Social Security Act.

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