The week of August 18th, the MA House of Representatives vote to approve a bill that will change the Commonwealth’s alimony rules. The new law establishes guidelines for setting alimony payments and does away with the ability of judges to approve “lifetime alimony.”
Under the new law, the length of alimony is dependent on the length of the marriage, and in most cases, ends at the age of retirement. In the context of the proposed statute, retirement is defined as when one would qualify for full benefits under social security. This distinction needs to be made so as not to confuse someone into thinking that early retirement would qualify for termination of alimony. In the past, judges had discretion to consider a variety of factors, including assets and employment status.
The proposed law also proposed new types of alimony including “transitional alimony” which would occur when a spouse needs temporary assistance or job training. Also proposed in the law is “reimbursement alimony” which would be for repayment of money spent on helping a spouse through school or training while married.
The new law would not change alimony rulings already in place but it would allow divorced parties to ask for alimony modifications. If approved by the Senate, this new law is sure to result in more consistent alimony rulings throughout the state, while taking discretion away from judges and creating new forms of alimony.
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