Legislation Proposed to Cap Alimony Payments in Massachusetts
The Boston Business Journal reports that recently proposed legislation in Massachusetts would make dramatic changes in the way alimony payments are decided. In addition, under certain circumstances, if the legislation is passed it would permit divorced parties to re-examine their established alimony agreements.
The bill, known as the Alimony Reform Act of 2011, establishes guidelines that have been long-awaited for with regard to alimony payments in Massachusetts. Currently, the state does not allow judges to set a cap on the duration of payments, which has resulted in many situations of non-working ex-spouses supported by an unmarried, live-in partner receiving lifetime alimony payments from a working ex-spouse. If the legislation is passed, alimony recipients would not be permitted to continue receiving payments in those situations. The proposed legislation would also make it less difficult for parties to alter their alimony payments upon retirement.
The bill offers exact definitions of new alimony categories, and also details how long alimony payments should last. In “general term alimony,” for example, a former spouse who is economically dependent on the other former spouse is granted regular alimony payments, whereas in “rehabilitation alimony,” payment is made to a former spouse with the expectation that they will become financially independent eventually.
Furthermore, the bill defines how long alimony payments should continue, which is dependent upon how long the marriage lasted. For example, if a marriage lasted for five years or less, payments cannot be greater than half the number of months the marriage lasted. For marriages that lasted over 20 years, indefinite alimony can be granted at the discretion of a judge.
In Pennsylvania, there are four main types of alimony, and the amount granted to a person can vary greatly. Alimony payments are dependent on certain circumstances and upon the ruling of the family court, and can have a serious impact on a person’s lifestyle. Sheryl R. Rentz is a Pennsylvania alimony lawyer who can help you take the steps necessary to make sure you are given the alimony payments you deserve. To learn more about alimony payments in Pennsylvania and what you may be granted based on your situation, call The Law Offices of Sheryl R. Rentz at 610-645-0100.