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Alimony reform in Massachusetts

The premise of alimony originated many centuries ago. Alimony was used as a means for a man to support his wife after a divorce. Over the years, alimony has gone through much change. Some women have entered into the job market and may not need the support, while others hold traditional views towards alimony. No matter the opinion of the individual, many states, including Massachusetts, are stepping in and creating laws that will change alimony as we know it.

Those that support reform believe that it will give structure to a system that is otherwise arbitrary. Without structure, there is much discretion for judges to grant alimony and the reform, proponents argue, would provide consistency. Those opposed to the reform argue that re-entering the workforce after years of raising children and tending to the home requires "reinventing" oneself, often at an older age, which is extremely difficult. Therefore they feel that alimony provides individuals with resources that are necessary in today's society.

Whether for or against alimony, it can still be a matter for discussion during divorce proceedings. In Massachusetts alimony cases, the judge will consider the circumstances, follow the formula and rule in a way that is consistent with the law.

As alimony law has been recently reformed, there is often confusion about whether an individual is entitled to alimony or how much they should be awarded. Discussing options and circumstances with an experienced legal professional in the Massachusetts area is a great way to shed light on some of these complex questions.

Source: NPR, "Alimony Till Death Do Us Part? Nay, Say Some Ex-Spouses," Jennifer Ludden, May 28, 2013