Monthly Archives: March 2012

Don’t wait until 2013 to get a modification of your alimony

There has been a good deal of publicity about the new  Massachusetts alimony law which took effect on March 1, 2012. There has also been a fair amount of disappointment when people learn that the new law prevents most people from filing for a modification of their alimony based upon the new law until 2013, and in some instances not until 2015! But there is no need to wait until then. Here’s why:

If your alimony payment is likely to terminate as a result of the new law, there is no reason you can’t start informal negotiations now. Most cases are resolved without litigation and it may be that since the new law is relatively clear about termination of alimony, that you can obtain a lump sum payment now(if you receive alimony) or make a one time payment now(if you pay alimony) and stop writing checks forever. If you are receiving alimony, you should be able to negotiate a good settlement by offering to terminate alimony now in return for a lump sum. If you have a potential defense to termination of alimony (called a “deviation” under the new law) such as for ill health, disability, etc, you might be able to negotiate an even better settlement because the payor of alimony would have to consider the chance that if he filed for a modification, the alimony payment would not be terminated, due to the existence of grounds for a deviation. As a payor of alimony, you might be able to negotiate a discount, if you offer to pay the alimony in advance in a lump sum.  You might even want to negotiate an extension of your alimony for a couple of years, in return for a smaller payment. In some cases, it might be a better deal to transfer some part of your IRA to your spouse, in return for a termination of alimony.  For some people, making a life insurance policy available to your ex spouse might be more attractive than alimony, and you might be able to save your self some money now, in return for providing this benefit.The point here is that the new alimony law is an opportunity to revisit alimony in light of the new law and there is no reason not to start right away.

Ask yourself these seven questions before hiring your divorce lawyer.

Your experience with your lawyer will be one of the most important variables that will determine how you feel when your divorce is over. And, to be sure, unlike a chronic illness, your divorce will, at some point be over. There are many things to consider before hiring a lawyer such as experience, education, and training,… Continue Reading

Getting divorced? Should you change your Will?

I am frequently asked by clients if he/she can change a Last Will and Testament during a divorce proceeding. I have had trouble finding any controlling legal authority on this, so I think the decision about whether to do it is up to you. If you have a Will that gives all your property to… Continue Reading

Dating before your divorce is final

As Massachusetts is a no fault state, it is unlikely to make a difference legally in Massachusetts if you date discretely and are very careful about keeping your dating from your children.Most judges assume that one or both parties appearing before them in a divorce has already been unfaithful. Legally the judge can consider marital… Continue Reading

Some little noted clarifications contained in the new alimony reform law

There has been a lot of attention given to the durational limits on alimony contained in the alimony reform law, including termination of alimony at the payor’s  federal retirement age. There are two other clarifications that will reduce litigation in areas where the prior law was unclear. Under the new law alimony cannot exceed the… Continue Reading

Article on new alimony law

This article, co-authored by Howard Goldstein, was incorporated in materials published by the Boston Bar Association on February 28, 2012 in connection with their continuing education program on the new alimony law.   Unintended Consequences of “An Act to Reform and Improve Alimony,” in Massachusetts: Avoiding the Pitfalls on the Road to Reform Janet Miller… Continue Reading

New additions to domestic relations laws – Chapter 208 Divorce

Here are the new additions to the domestic relations laws, Chapter 208 on Divorce. Effective as of today March 1st, 2012. Chapter 208. Section 31A Visitation and custody orders; consideration of abuse toward parent or child; best interest of child. Chapter 208. Section 48 Definitions applicable to Secs. 49 to 55. Chapter 208. Section 49… Continue Reading