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Alimony Reform in Massachusetts: Who will be Affected?

If you are a Massachusetts resident who is either paying or receiving alimony, then you should be aware of the proposed Alimony Reform Act of 2011 (Act) and how it may affect you.

The Act has been passed by both the House and the Senate, and is currently awaiting Governor Deval Patrick's signature.

Significant Public Support for the Alimony Reform Act of 2011

MyFoxBoston.com reports that the Massachusetts Bar Association's (MBA) House of Delegates voted unanimously to support The Alimony Reform Act of 2011. The MBA, which has supported the notion of improving Massachusetts' alimony laws since the early 1990s, believes the Act will increase fairness among ex-husbands and ex-wives.

The MBA President has said "this legislation will completely overhaul the state's current antiquated system of setting alimony and the change is long overdue."

Proposed Changes to Massachusetts Alimony Law

The Alimony Reform Act of 2011 is poised to drastically change alimony payments and how married couples structure or negotiate a divorce. For example, the Act proposes the following changes:

· The Act proposes duration limits for alimony payments. Marriages that lasted more than 20 years will have alimony payments cease at retirement age. Other limits will depend upon the length of the marriage, as well as the age, health and income of the parties.

· General alimony will be suspended if the recipient cohabitates with another person for a period of at least three months.

· If a payer remarries, the income and assets of the payer's new spouse will not be considered in modifications to alimony payments.

· Alimony payments will not exceed the recipient's need or 30 percent to 35 percent of the difference of the parties' gross incomes.

These are only a few of many proposed changes that may affect current and future alimony payment plans. Those who are currently paying or receiving alimony should contact their divorce lawyer to determine if the Alimony Reform Act of 2011 may change their situation.

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