Category Archives: Alimony Reform

Proposed Bill to Allow Pre 2012 Alimony Orders to Terminate at Retirement

Massachusetts Representative John Fernandes recently (February 19, 2016) filed House Bill HD4546 which if enacted would now allow alimony orders which were entered into prior to 2012 to terminate upon the Federal Age of Retirement per Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 208 Section 49.

This proposed bill is in direct response to what many believed to be a surprising ruling by the Massachusetts SJC in Chin v. Merriot, which held that alimony orders made prior to enactment in 2012 could not terminate upon the payor reaching the full federal age of retirement.

The Bill would also clarify issues related to cohabitation making the existence of cohabitation a material change of circumstances opening for doors to a modification of the payor’s obligation.

It should be interesting to see where this goes.  The Bill appears to have a fair amount of support.

Temporary Alimony is NOT General Term Alimony

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court added new clarification today in its opinion in the Holmes case (see full opinion here). In Holmes, Husband was ordered to pay temporary alimony during the pendency of the divorce modification case.  The SJC held that the 2 years Husband paid “temporary alimony” (during the pendency of the modification case)… Continue Reading

Child Support is Becoming More Complex

I used to tell my clients that child support was a straight forward issue.  Prior to the August 2013 Child Support Guidelines, I believed that it was.  If one parent had primary custody of the child/ren then to determine income, simply input the data into the child support calculator and whatever the number was, would… Continue Reading

When should I file for divorce?

New clients often ask the question, “When should I file for divorce?” This seems like a simple question, that should have a simple answer. But it does not. The reason is that every case is different. Here are some reason to file quickly and some reasons to wait. Which of them apply to you? REASONS… Continue Reading

Six Months of experience under the new alimony reform law

We now have been working with the new alimony law for almost six months. What have we learned? Here are my thoughts: The new alimony law has resulted in a sea change. The notion of lifetime alimony in Massachusetts has gone the way of the Dodo bird. Interestingly, the wave of new modifications based upon… 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

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