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blog home Maintenance Massachusetts Looks to Cap Alimony Payments with Proposed Legislation

Massachusetts Looks to Cap Alimony Payments with Proposed Legislation

By Nottage and Ward on June 29, 2011

In Massachusetts, legislation has recently been proposed that would significantly change the way alimony payments are decided in the State, reports The Boston Business Journal. Additionally, if passed, it would also allow divorced parties to revisit their established alimony agreements, in certain circumstances.

Known as the Alimony Reform Act of 2011, the bill has been praised by many for giving long-anticipated guidelines regarding alimony awards in the State. Massachusetts does not currently permit judges to set a cap on its duration, which has resulted in many scenarios of working ex-spouses making lifetime alimony payments to a non-working ex-spouse who are supported by an unmarried, live-in partner. Now, the proposed legislation gives precise definitions of new, additional categories of alimony, and also describes how long payments should continue. For example, in “general term alimony,” a former spouse who is economically dependent on the other former spouse is given regular payments; in “rehabilitative alimony,” payment is made to a former spouse who is expected to eventually become financially independent.

The proposed legislation also defines how long payments should last, depending on how long the marriage lasted. For example, if a marriage lasted for five years or less, under the legislation, payments are not to exceed half the number of months the marriage lasted. For marriages that lasted longer than 20 years, indefinite alimony can be granted at the discretion of a Judge.

Additionally, if passed, the legislation would not allow alimony recipients to continue to receive payments if they are unmarried and living with a life partner who provides support. In such cases, payments are stopped. The proposed legislation would also make it easier for parties to modify their alimony payments upon their retirement.

Alimony is referred to as maintenance in Illinois. There are different variations of maintenance, and it is important that adequate steps are taken to ensure you are granted the payments you deserve to secure your financial future. At Nottage and Ward, our Chicago maintenance lawyers can help you understand what payments you should expect based upon your situation, and can negotiate or litigate on your behalf. Call our law offices at 312-332-2915 to find out more.

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