Massachusetts’ New Alimony Law

June 21, 2012 by  
Filed under Divorce

By Laurie Israel, lawyer/mediator, Brookline, MA

Alimony is a highly-charged word.  Discussions of alimony generally get the strongest reactions from both men and women when working out the terms of a divorce.   Believe it or not, it’s generally more contentious than custody disputes over children or property division.

Men (the typical gender of the alimony provider) are understandably concerned.  They are no longer entitled to receive their wife’s love or services but still must pay.  To add insult to injury, sometimes alimony is payable even when the wife had decided to end the marriage.   And men are understandably concerned about the negative effect of alimony on the wife’s future motivation to make her own living.

On the other hand, married women have often experienced significant decreased opportunities in their careers.  They often have made (by mutual decision with their husband) their top priority to take care of the family, home, children, and husband – to be a homemaker.  That’s why some commentators view a marriage as an economic partnership, with the right to alimony payments as essentially a payment of the marital partnership’s income interest.

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