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Are divorces prior to the Alimony Reform Act grandfathered in to the old alimony rules?

Gardner, MA |

My boyfriend and his ex were divorced 3 years ago. She pays him alimony each month. We want to live together, but can't afford to lose his alimony. I'm trying to find out if his divorce would be somehow grandfathered in to the rules which were in effect at the time of their divorce.

Attorney Answers 5


  1. Sorry. No grandfather clause. I suggest that you consult with an attorney to see if there are other options.

    LEGAL DISCLAIMER: I am licensed to practice law in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and have an office in Waltham. My practice is focused in the areas of family law, estate planning, probate, elder law, landlord-tenant and employment law. I am ethically required to state that the above answer does not create an attorney/client relationship. These responses should be considered general legal education and are intended to provide general information about the question asked. Frequently, the question does not include important facts that, if known, could significantly change the answer. Information provided on this site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney that practices in your state. The law changes frequently and varies from state to state. Please contact me with questions and concerns at: (T): 781-647-8100 (E): josh@ccrlawgroup.com I wish you all the best.


  2. The Alimony Reform Act still applies to your boyfriend and his ex. If you cohabitate with your boyfriend, his ex will be able to file a Complaint for Modification to terminate her alimony obligation.

    NOTE: This answer is for educational purposes only. By using or participating in this site you understand that there is no attorney client privilege between you and the attorney responding. This site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your area who regularly practices in the subject matter which your question is about. You should develop an attorney client relationship with the lawyer of your choice so that your communications will be subject to the attorney client privilege and have the other benefits of a professional relationship. The law changes frequently and varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. The information and materials provided are general in nature, and may not apply to a specific matter as partially described in the question


  3. The alimony award that was part of your boyfriend’s judgment remains unchanged, but can be modified to reflect the intent of the new legislation. The timing of the modification to reflect the new legislation depends on how many years he was married – modifications are being phased in over several years. Of course a complaint for modification can be filed for other reasons as well, changes of income, expenses, ability to pay and needs of the recipient. If there has been a material change in circumstances, that is the facts that supported the judgment are no longer applicable, then a party can file for modification.

    Under the new legislation a party can also file for modification if the recipient of the alimony award enters into cohabitation arrangement. While the definition of cohabitation is still being formulated through case law, a few things seem clear: 1) cohabitation must t be for a period of time (more than 3 months), and 2) thee has to be economic integration (shred expenses, joint bank accounts) – not just a roommate/shared living expense arrangement. This may be difficult to prove if the cohabitants maintain economic independence. Finally, if the alimony award terminated for cohabitation it can be reinstated if the cohabitation ends (but not all that likely).

    This is not legal advice and is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship. You should speak to an attorney for further information.


  4. What you are suggesting is covered by the new law. In fact, you
    should consult an attorney before you make any changes.

    Does this answer your question?

    henry lebensbaum, esq.

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    Criminal Law (all misdemeanor & felonies in District and Superior Courts), Drunk Driving and Drug arrests, Sex Offenses, SORB, Crimes involving Violence or Theft, Domestic (Divorce, Child Custody, Alimony and Child Support) and Family Law (Modification, Contempts & Paternity), Juvenile Law, Domestic Violence and Restraining Orders, Business Law, Personal Injury claims, Probate Law (Guardianships, Conservatorships & Estate Administration) and Legal Malpractice. For these and other areas, contact me. NOTE: This preceding message DOES NOT create an attorney-client relationship. It is not a protected or confidential communication. The statements made herein are not to be interpreted as representations or warranties of any kind. No reliance should be placed on the statements made herein. It is recommended that the recipient(s) should undertake their own research to reach their own opinion. The writer does not accept professional responsibility on this matter. TO CREATE an attorney-client relationship REQUIRES a signed retainer/fee agreement along with a retainer fee that must be received by my office.


  5. Yes, the new alimony reform law applies to all divorced persons, regardless of when their divorce was finalized. You need to read the alimony reform law together with the any divorce decree/separation agreements in place. Hire a lawyer to consult with as you make this change!

    Christopher Vaughn-Martel is a Massachusetts lawyer with the firm of Vaughn-Martel Law in Boston, Massachusetts. All answers are based on Massachusetts law and the limited facts presented by the questioner. All answers are provided to the general public for educational purposes only and no attorney-client relationship is formed by providing an answer to a question. To schedule a consultation with a lawyer, and obtain advice and review of your specific legal issue, please call us today at 617-357-4898 or visit us at www.vaughnmartel.com.

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