Is Lifetime Alimony a Thing of the Past in Mass.?


If you're seeking divorce advice in Pasadena, it's a good idea to familiarize yourself with alimony laws. If, however, you're getting a divorce in Boston, Massachusetts, keeping up with alimony laws could be a tricky and confusing thing. The state which is known for its progressive stance on marriage - both straight and gay - is currently embroiled in debate surrounding lifetime alimony. A new proposed state law could get rid of Massachusetts' longstanding, lifetime alimony policy.

Current Massachusetts state law does not contain duration limits for alimony, meaning that regardless if your marriage lasts 50 years or 50 months you could end up paying your former spouse alimony until their last breath. It is strictly up to judges to decide how much alimony a spouse should receive based on employment, assets, length of marriage and other factors. For divorce lawyers in Massachusetts, reform is a long time coming. Lifetime alimony is a thing of the past in many states as most consider it a holdout from the days when wives did not work.

"Most judges today expect that both spouses will go to work. That is one of the differences that drives this. That wasn't the view years ago, but it is the view now," Linda Lean Viken, president of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, said in an interview with the Associated Press.

The proposed law would end lifetime alimony payments in most cases while mandating a cap on how much one spouse is ordered to pay the other. The length of the marriage would then determine how much alimony spouses would receive. The new law would categorize alimony in an attempt to limit the length of time alimony is paid.

State Senator Cynthia Creem says the bill will force judges to make decisions about alimony on a case-by-case basis.

"I think that people shouldn't have to pay alimony forever and not be able to retire and not be able to change their situation. On the other hand, there are people who really need spousal support," she said.

Creem is the Senate Chair of the Judiciary Committee, which will hold a hearing on the bill Wednesday.