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In the separation agreement does waiving past and present alimony, also stop future alimony once the child support ends?

Haverhill, MA |

With the new Massachusetts laws, I can only get child support for now and not alimony at same time. In the separation agreement it says both parties waive any and all claim against past and present alimony. Will this mean that once child support ends (in approx. 5 years), will I not get any alimony? I am in a long term marriage and State calculations say I should be entitled to 17 years (minus the child support years - so 12 addl. yrs of alimony)

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Attorney answers 5

Posted

Hi

I disagree that you cannot get alimony along with child support under the new alimony law. Several judges have supported this view. I would need to look at your agreement and see all the language but it appears you did not waive future alimony. An important question is whether the issue of alimony merged into the judgment or remained an independent binding contract. The language in the agreement would indicate which.

Steve Coren

This answer does not consitute legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. The answer is based only on the facts presented. This answer is basd only on Massachusetts law.

Daniel Seth Williams

Daniel Seth Williams

Posted

I read about this in a legal journal, very interesting.

Marcia J Mavrides

Marcia J Mavrides

Posted

I agree that a spouse can receive child support and alimony at the same time. However in determining the calculation of each, there should be no "double dipping " into the payor's pool of income. In other words, if the payor's income is $100,000, then you cannot calculate child support on $100,000 and then alimony on the same $100,000. You could calculate child support on the first $50,000 and alimony on the remaining $50,000. However, most recipients use the straight child support calculation on $100,000 because it is tax free child support, rather than taxable alimony. In Massachusetts, as long as the combined income of the payor and recipient does not exceed $250,000, then the use of the child support guideline is usually presumed, unless a hybrid of child support/alimony is negotiated. Many families negotiate a hybrid of child support and alimony so that there is less income tax paid to the government and more usable income for both parents. In any scenario, unless there has been a waiver of future alimony in a divorce agreement, which is unusual without an alimony buy-out in the form of a significant asset or lump sum payment , then the spouse in need of support may file a complaint for modification requesting alimony after child support is no longer paid. You still have to prove a need for alimony and the payor's ability to pay. It is unclear how long you may be entitled to receive alimony, but if your marriage exceeds 20 years, it is presumed that alimony will end upon your husband reaching full social security retirement age. It is important that you consult with a family law attorney to determine your options and the timing of your anticipated request for alimony.

Posted

New and substantial changes to laws are always difficult to even the most experienced family law attorneys. I would suggest you get several consultations with an attorney in your area to test the pulse of how people in the legal community feel.

Attorney Williams practices FAMILY LAW throughout the State of California and may be reached at (831) 233-3558 and offers free consultations. The response provided in this forum is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship. The information offered in this response is for general informational purposes only and should not be relied upon without further consultation with a legal professional after all relevant facts are disclosed and considered. DANIEL S. WILLIAMS, ESQ. LAW OFFICES OF DANIEL S. WILLIAMS 500 LIGHTHOUSE AVENUE, STE. A MONTEREY, CA 93940 (831) 233-3558 -- OFFICE (831) 233-3560 -- FAX

Posted

The short answer is no, if future alimony was not waived, it is still a possibility after child support. However, the new alimony law has time limits on alimony, and even at a seminar with a panel of judges last week, there was uncertainty as to measuring that time when alimony waits for c.s. to end. Speak to an attorney about this.

To questioners from West Virginia & New York: Although I am licensed to practice in your state, I practice on a day-to-day basis in Massachusetts. I answer questions in your state in areas of the law in which I practice, and in which I feel comfortable trying to offer you assistance based on my knowledge of specific statutes in your state and/or general principles applicable in all states. It is always best, however, to work with attorneys and court personnel in your own area to deal with specific problems and factual situations.

Posted

The new alimony law is just that, new, and at this point, the new law hasn't been sufficiently tested in court. I would consider finding a family law attorney who offers consultations and sit down with him or her and go over your separation agreement, your finances, and your long term goals. I agree that it is also important to carefully review whether the alimony provision in your agreement survived or merged.

Posted

Since you specifically waived past and present, your lawyer should argue that you purposely left future alimony open. Additionally, when child support ends "economic dependency" will become an issue....something that you should be able to document. Finally, if the agreement did not survive (and merged), you may be able to go get some alimony now. Good luck.