Effects of Cohabitation, Retirement and Income Changes on Alimony
Alimony drastically changed in 2012 when the Alimony Reform Act was passed. Prior to 2012, Massachusetts courts used a standardized formula for calculating alimony that factored in things such as spousal age, earning capacity, length of marriage, employability and more. One of the biggest changes the Alimony Reform Act was limiting the duration of alimony, but other factors such as cohabitation, retirement and income changes also affect alimony.
How Cohabitation Can Change Alimony
Not only can alimony terminate upon remarriage, but it can also be reduced or suspended upon cohabitation that lasts for three months or longer.
According to Title III, Chapter 208, Section 49(d),
General term alimony shall be suspended, reduced or terminated upon the cohabitation of the recipient spouse when the payor shows that the recipient spouse has maintained a common household, as defined in this subsection, with another person for a continuous period of at least 3 months.
How Retirement Can Change Alimony
In Massachusetts, alimony can be terminated at retirement, at which point the spouse can receive Social Security.
According to Title III, Chapter 208, Section 49(f),
Once issued, general term alimony orders shall terminate upon the payor attaining the full retirement age.
The statute further notes that the individual’s ability to work past retirement age is not generally a reason to extend alimony payments. The court may grant an extension of alimony if good cause is shown, such as a material change of circumstances and reasons supported by clear and convincing evidence.
How Income Changes Can Affect Alimony
Generally in Massachusetts, alimony orders should not exceed 30 to 35% of the difference between each spouse’s gross incomes. Consequently, if one of the spouse’s income changes, he or she can petition for a modification of alimony. When circumstances such as a change in income occurs, you have a right to go back to court to seek to modify your agreement.
Contact Miller Law Group, P.C., for a Free Consultation
At Miller Law Group, P.C., our goal is to fight for fair alimony awards for all clients. You may be seeking alimony or you may have been asked to pay alimony. In either circumstance, protect yourself by contacting our law firm today for a free consultation to discuss your legal rights and options.