New Mass. Law Caps Alimony Based on Length of the Marriage

By Debra Cassens Weiss, ABA Journal, 9/27/11
A new law in Massachusetts curbs lifetime alimony payments by creating caps on alimony based on the length of the marriage.
Gov. Deval Patrick signed the law on Monday, report the Boston Globe (reg. req.), the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal (sub. req.).
According to the Times, alimony to a spouse in a marriage that lasted five years or less would be capped at half the length of the marriage. Alimony for marriages lasting 15 to 20 years would be capped at 80 percent of the marriage length.
The new law also allows judges to end alimony payments to spouses who live with a new partner, the Globe says. The aim is to encourage marriage and discourage cohabitation arrangements designed to allow a former spouse to continue collecting alimony.
The law also generally ends alimony payments when the one-time spouse paying the money reaches retirement age, the Wall Street Journal says.
Opponents say the law will encourage spouses to spend more time in abusive marriages to be eligible for more alimony.

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