Massachusetts alimony reform in place but not perfect, part 1

Family laws varies from state to state. When it comes to differences in the law in a single state, however, changes are not so common. It can take decades for lawmakers and the public to see and accept that changes need to be made. It takes even longer for those changes to actually be put into law and change society.

Last year, alimony laws in Massachusetts changed. That is a big deal for anyone who divorces in the state. It could mean the difference between financial stability and money struggles. Depending on which side of the table one party is on, the alimony reform could seem helpful or harsh. For almost all parties, the alimony reform thus far has made for questions.

A recent Boston Globe report documented the struggles in a couple of different divorce cases in the state.

One Massachusetts man whose long-term marriage ended in divorce has literally fled the arms of the state’s alimony laws. He is currently living on a Cherokee reservation to avoid being arrested for failure to pay his ex-wife what he claims is money he doesn’t have. He believes that a family law judge is misreading into what his income is and also that the new reform should prevent him from having to pay his ex-wife because he is at retirement age.


There are various details to the state’s alimony reform. The above case mentions the retirement age aspect of the law. Our next post will continue the discussion about the challenges that still exist despite alimony changes.

Someone who has a questions about divorce and what their alimony situation might look like now with the legal changes should talk with a family law attorney in Massachusetts.

Source: The Boston Globe, “New Mass. alimony law a ‘model’ — but is it working?” Bella English, Oct. 20, 2013


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