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Modifications Archives

When Can a Parent Receive a Retroactive Credit on Child Support?

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The New 2017 Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines: What’s New? What’s the Same?

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Can Alimony Last Past the Scheduled Termination Date?

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Length of Marriage How Long Will Alimony Last 0-5 years No more than 50% of the total number of months from the date of marriage … Read More »



Massachusetts Alimony Reform Act: When Does my Alimony Obligation Terminate?

In March 2012, the Massachusetts Alimony Reform Act became effective. Under the Alimony Reform Act, a spouse’s alimony obligation now has a termination date, whereas under previously Massachusetts alimony law, a spouse’s alimony obligation could last forever.

To determine when your alimony obligation will terminate, you first must know what kind of alimony you are paying. There are four categories of alimony in Massachusetts: General Alimony, Rehabilitative Alimony, Reimbursement Alimony, and Transitional Alimony.

General Alimony

General Alimony is the most common type of alimony. Under this type of alimony, a spouse’s alimony obligation lasts for a percentage of the length of the marriage.

For marriages lasting 5 years or less, a spouse’s alimony obligation lasts 50% the number of months the parties were married. For marriages lasting more than 5 years, but less than 10 years, a spouse’s alimony obligation is 60% the number of months the parties were married. For marriages lasting more than 10 years, but less than 15 years, a spouse’s alimony obligation is 70% the number of months the parties were married. For marriages lasting more than 15 … Read More »



5 Reasons Why Alimony Should Be Reduced or Terminated if You’re Living With Someone

alimony1. If you are living with someone else, your financial need has likely been reduced or eliminated, thereby reducing or eliminating your need for spousal support.

2. If you are living with someone else, accepting (or taking) spousal support is, in essence, double-dipping.

3. If you are living with someone else, while receiving spousal support, your former spouse is also supporting that other person.

4. If you are living with someone else, you are likely in a social and financial interdependent relationship akin to a marriage.

5. In many instances, if you are living with someone else, you may be violating a Marital Settlement Agreement or may be in breach of a final judgment.

Alimony reform is on the rise, and there’s simply no avoiding it. Nor should there be. In a modern society, where the rules and roles have changed dramatically since the days when women didn’t work outside of the home and didn’t have the right to vote, and there’s been a significant shift towards rebalancing economic equality, traditional notions of what spousal support is, when it is required and when it should be modified, must be redressed. One ripe … Read More »



Massachusetts Alimony Reform Act & Durational Limits

When the Massachusetts Alimony Reform Act went into effect in 2012, it provided for a payor spouse to file a Complaint for Modification to reduce or terminate his or her alimony obligation based upon durational limits, as further explained below. Rather than allowing spouses to file all at once in 2012, modification for only durational limits are being phased in over the course of three years.

Under the Alimony Reform Act, all alimony orders existing prior to the enactment of the Alimony Reform Act, are considered “General Term Alimony” unless otherwise specified. “General Term Alimony” is defined as “the periodic payment of support to a recipient spouse who is economically dependent.” Under this type of alimony, a spouse’s alimony obligation lasts for a percentage of the length of the marriage.

• For marriages lasting 5 years or less, a spouse’s alimony obligation lasts 50% the number of months the parties were married.

• For marriages lasting more than 5 years, but less than 10 years, a spouse’s alimony obligation is 60% the number of months the parties were married.

• For … Read More »



Child Custody & Visitation Mediation

Child Custody & Visitation Mediation FAQ’s

Do you wish there was a way to make getting a separation from your significant other or divorce from your spouse easier on your children?

Mediation helps preserve and maintain whatever is left of the good part of your relationship by significantly reducing the tension of getting a divorce. Parties who mediate their family law matters are typically able to reach an agreement that first serves the “best interests” of their children and then themselves.

Who is best suited to make decisions about your children?

Typically the parties are more satisfied by having arrived at their own “solutions” to the problems as opposed to having a judge ram a decision against you both that neither party may like.

How do you know if mediation is right for you?

Mediation may be an option if each party wants to save money for their children’s interest instead of paying excessive fees to their lawyers and if both parties wish to reach and create a thorough agreement in a short period of time usually a month or so as opposed to waiting close to 14 months for the traditional … Read More »



How to Calculate Your Child Support

Under Massachusetts law, parents who are divorced or separated must continue to support their children. In Massachusetts, a parent’s child support obligation is calculated based upon the Child Support Guidelines. The Child Support Guidelines are a set of rules that dictate how to calculate a parent’s child support obligation, and what income must be included in the calculation of child support.

The Child Support Guidelines often compare the respective financial circumstances of each parent and also look at the standard of living the child(ren) enjoyed while the parents were still married. In calculating child support, the court considers all sources of income, including salaries, wages, overtime, bonus, income from self-employment, commissions, interest and dividends, disability benefits, social security benefits, unemployment benefits, and many other sources. The court may even impute income to a parent, if the court believes that the parent is not working or earning income to his or her fullest ability.

A parent’s child support obligation is calculated by adding the combined gross incomes of the recipient parent and the payor parent, less any child care, health insurance, dental and vision insurance, … Read More »



Streamlining the Child Support Modification Process in Massachusetts

Child Support letters with gavel and cash

In May 2013, the Massachusetts Probate and Family Court expanded Standing Order 3-11, which streamlines the child support modification process in Massachusetts. Through this Standing Order, parents can now complete more user-friendly forms to file for a child support modification with the Probate and Family Court, and also obtain a faster court date to obtain some relief.

This project was originally initiated in 2011 in Bristol County through a federal grant. The project used Bristol County as a test county for the streamlined process. The Probate and Family Court worked together with the Department of Revenue, Child Support Enforcement Division to test this program.

As part of the pilot project, the Probate and Family Court and DOR developed a one-page form that contained the Complaint for Modification as well as the Motion for Temporary Orders. This form is more user-friendly than the standard court forms. In addition to the more user-friendly forms, litigants are allowed to complete service of the summons and complaint by first class mail, rather than service by a sheriff or constable. … Read More »



Massachusetts Alimony Reform Act: When Can I Modify My Obligation

, 3D rendering, blue street sign

Under the Massachusetts Alimony Reform Act, which became effective in March 2012, there are new standards and guidelines upon which a spouse may file for a modification of alimony. There are four types of alimony under the Massachusetts Alimony Reform Act: 1) General Term ; 2) Rehabilitative ; 3) Reimbursement ; and 4) Transitional. Based upon the new law, only General Term and Rehabilitative are modifiable.

General Term Alimony

General Term may be modified upon a showing of a material change in circumstances. Modification on these grounds may be indefinite, permanent, or finite in duration. General Term may be modified or terminated upon a showing that the recipient spouse is and has been cohabitating with another person for at least 3 months.

Additionally, any payor spouse who will reach full retirement age on or before March 1, 2015, may file for a modification of alimony on or after March 1, 2013.

The Alimony Reform Act also allows a General Term Alimony award to be modified based upon certain durational limits. These limits are as follows:

Payor … Read More »



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