Massachusetts lawmakers put alimony reform laws into effect several years ago, changing the landscape of the way the state courts handled spousal support. Some of the language of the reform act is different than that of comparable laws.
Men and women will say the darndest things when a marriage goes south. Words -- or threats -- that they may have never even thought were in their rhetorical repertoire might come out and make a stressful divorce situation even more stressful.
The streets and businesses of Boston are filled with women with impressive educations, careers and career goals. Those professional women's goals might be no different from the men standing next to them. So what happens when two professionals get married and have children?
When people over 50 get divorced, one of the most pressing issues is often the cost of health insurance. Not only do insurers charge more overall when married couples transition into separate households, but it can also be prohibitively expensive -- or even impossible -- for older non-working spouses to get coverage. These factors come down especially hard on women who have mostly worked at home and may have developed preexisting conditions by the time they reach middle age.
The story of a man who has been jailed at least eight times in the past two years over non-payment of alimony appears to have struck nerves nationwide. The man was making $1 million a year as an investment portfolio manager at the time of his divorce, and his total child support and lifetime alimony payment was set at nearly $100,000 a year. Shortly after the divorce, however, the economy tanked and he lost his job. After forking over all of his savings, he couldn’t keep up. Jail has became routine for him.
After three years of litigation, repeated court orders and a ruling by a state appellate court, the insurance company Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois is apparently still ready to fight its legal obligation to withhold child support from payments it makes to a therapist who owes between $20,000 and $30,000. In the meantime, his ex-wife has lost a home to foreclosure and is on the verge of losing another. Two of their three children have reached adulthood.
Back in 2010, Emmy- and Golden Globe-winning actress Jane Lynch was at the height of her fame. She was also in love, and in June of that year she and her girlfriend, a clinical psychologist, were married here in Massachusetts. The couple then registered as domestic partners in California, their main state of residence. To many of her fans’ dismay, however, Lynch announced earlier this summer that she has filed for divorce in California.
Generally speaking, celebrity and other high-asset divorce cases aren’t all that different from those of ordinary people, except that there are often complex financial issues that must be considered during the division of assets and debts. In the cases of some celebrities, however, another difference can arise: the possibility that public interest in the case could affect its outcome.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, only 3 percent of men receive alimony after divorce, even though 37 percent of married women earn more than their husbands. Under Massachusetts family law and the laws of most states, gender is not to be considered as a factor when determining whether alimony is appropriate, and presumably men and women are in similar positions when divorcing higher-earning partners. So what explains such a substantial difference between alimony awards to men versus women?
In 2012, Massachusetts family law changed. The legislature ended the practice of awarding permanent alimony in virtually all cases. Instead, the new law sets up a number of factors to be considered when courts weigh alimony requests.