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Spousal support reform a trend in Massachusetts and other states

Massachusetts was one of the first states to enact alimony reform to make paying for spousal support more predictable and fair. Paying alimony would be more like paying child support, which would be based on length of marriage and measurable factors instead of differences in amounts and duration with the old approach. This spousal support reform movement has been sweeping the country from Massachusetts, New York and New Jersey to Colorado.

Alimony reform activists — mostly men — were pushing for changes in the law because they felt that the old alimony laws were unfair. Paying alimony has sometimes forced men into bankruptcy because they had to pay excessive amounts of money for a long period of time. Second wives also pushed for reforms because they did not like that their husbands had to pay spousal support to their exes. Nowadays with societal changes and women making as much or more money than their husbands, prolonging alimony no longer make sense.

The new law in Massachusetts created several types of alimony that depend on the length of marriage and financial situations. It allows those paying alimony the ability to change the terms of the award payment as time goes on, based on their circumstances. Some downsides to the alimony reform are that it removes lawyers’ and judges’ abilities to take into consideration special circumstances, and could lead to the recipients not receiving enough money and being a burden to the state.

Alimony reform has caused significant changes to spousal support laws in Massachusetts and other states, so it would be wise for divorcing couples to understand what pertains to them. The purpose behind the new law was to instill fairness to alimony payments. When couples divorce, it is sometimes already an emotional process. With the alimony reform, divorced couples will at least have peace of mind knowing that spousal support payments will be awarded fairly and reasonably.

Source:, Alimony Trends: Not Just Massachusetts, No author, Jan. 3, 2014


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