Terminating Alimony Following a Long Term Marriage in Massachusetts

If you have read some of my earlier Word Press articles describing the Alimony Reform Act of 2011, you are aware that Massachusetts, with the enactment of this legislation, limited the duration of alimony for short-term and mid-term marriages, and designated an age at which the payor would be released from the obligation of spousal support. The Act went on to designate the date that the payor could file a complaint for modification in the Probate Court, using the new Act as justification, to seek a court order to end the payment of alimony.

For instance, in March, 2013, payors who were married for five years or less could file a modification action citing the Act to terminate alimony. In March, 2014, payors who were married ten years or less, but more than five years, could file a modification action seeking to end alimony based upon the new statute.

Now, beginning in September of 2015, parties married 20 years or less, but more than 15 years may file a complaint for modification seeking to terminate alimony or reduce same, basing their filing solely upon the Alimony Reform Act. Notwithstanding this staggering of filing dates, if the payor of the alimony has reached full retirement age on or before March 15, 2015, he/she may file a complaint for modification on or after March 1, 2013. Currently the full retirement age is defined to be 66 years old, but shortly will become 67 years old.

It is important to understand that while the Alimony Reform Act provides the payor with an age when the obligation to pay support to the former spouse ends, this provision is not exclusive to other rights that the payor might have. I will talk more about this in my next article. In the meantime, I would be happy to meet with you for a private consultation.


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