Alimony Reform Act Of 2011

On September 26, 2011, Massachusetts Governor, Patrick Duvall, signed The Alimony Reform Act into law and its terms began to take effect on March 1, 2012. M.G.L. ch. 208 §§48 to 55.

The Act provides a complete overhaul to how alimony is determined and calculated and established four separate categories of alimony:

  • General Term Alimony;
  • Rehabilitative Alimony;
  • Reimbursement Alimony;
  • Transitional Alimony

How long will I (have to pay) (receive) Alimony?

  • The duration that someone will be obligated to pay or is entitled to receive general term alimony is dependent upon the specific facts of the case. However, the new law limits the maximum amount of time based upon the length of the marriage. Contact Attorney Nicole C. Armstrong to determine the length of your obligation or entitlement.

I am remarried, will by subsequent spouse's income and assets be considered?

  • The Act specifically states that "in the event the payor's remarriage, income and assets of the payor's spouse shall not be considered in a re-determination of alimony in a modification action."

I receive alimony, but am living with someone, what happens to my alimony award?/My ex lives with someone, what happens to my alimony obligation?

  • In short, cohabitation suspends, reduces, or terminates alimony. The Act provides that "General Term Alimony shall be suspended, reduced or terminated upon the cohabitation of the recipient spouse when the payor shows that the recipient has maintained a common household with another person for a continuous period of at least three months."

We have children. Will I be (obligated to pay) (entitled to receive) alimony and child support?

  • While the Act provides, "for purposes of setting an alimony order, the Court shall exclude from its income calculation gross income which the court has already considered for setting a child support order...", the issue surrounding alimony and child support is a complicated one that is still being developed in the Courts in light of the new reform. Contact Attorney Nicole C. Armstrong to discuss your situation further.

How much alimony will I be obligated to pay?/How much alimony will I be entitled to receive?

  • The Act provides, "...the amount of alimony should generally not exceed the recipient's need or 30% - 35% of the difference between the parties gross incomes established at the time of the order being issued."

I work a second job just to make ends meet, will that income be considered by the Court?

  • In a Modification action, income from a second job is presumed to be excluded if:
    1. A party works more than a single full-time equivalent position; and
    2. The second job or overtime commenced after entry of the initial order

I currently pay alimony based upon the old law. When can I file a Complaint for Modification?

  • In light of the new law, there are time limits on when a party can seek to modify their existing alimony order. Contact Attorney Nicole C. Armstrong to determine whether your situation is entitled to a modification.