How does the new alimony law in MA affect my situation?

Additional Info: I am getting a divorce. My wife is a neurological surgeon and has her own private practice in Methuen, MA so she makes significantly more money than I do. I know I will be entitled to alimony but could you please tell me how the new alimony law in MA and what I may receive?

Attorney Answer:

The MA Alimony Reform Act of 2011 provided some clarity to an area that has been historically uncertain for litigants and practitioners alike. Previously, in a longer term marriage there were no term limits on the amount of time a person could expect to pay or receive alimony. Today, in the wake of approval by the legislature of the Alimony Reform Act in Massachusetts, the length of time an alimony award is to go for is very certain as it is based on a formula defined by the total number of months of the marriage. In addition, the act also specifies that the amount of an alimony order should generally not exceed the recipient’s need or 30%-35% of the difference between the parties’ gross incomes established at the time of the order being issued.

Visitation schedule for teen age daughter

Additional info: I have been divorced for 10 years and live with my 16 year-old daughter in Andover, MA. She doesn’t want to visit her dad 1 1/2 hrs away every other weekend. She’s a teenager and has a busy sports schedule and social life. What rights does my daughter have and what legal responsibilities do I have regarding the matter?

Attorney Answer:

This is a common issue that often arises as a child grows older. It is vital to remember that the child is still a child, and does not have the authority to make the decisions regarding parenting time or otherwise. As equally important to remember, when there is a Court order in effect, a party could be subject to the possibility of Contempt proceedings if they are not in compliance with said Court Order. In this case, if the child ceases visiting with her Father, he could seek intervention from the Court and Mother would be faced with impending litigation.

What are the different types of child custody?

It is crucial for divorcing parents to understand that there are different types of Child Custody. The term Physical Custody denotes where the child will actually live. Parents may agree that there will be a shared Physical Custody arrangement or that one parent will be the Primary Physical Custodial with an appropriate Parenting Plan to ensure that the child spends time with each parent.

The term legal custody denotes who will make all of the major life decisions regarding the child’s education, health decisions and all around decisions affecting the child’s livelihood. In cases where parties are able to effectively communicate it is common that Legal Custody be shared.

How is child support determined?

Child Support is determined in accordance with the Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines formula and based on a report of the Massachusetts Child Support Taskforce which outlines what income shall be considered for purposes of calculating support.

What is the divorce mediation process?

Mediation is an excellent resource that divorcing couples often utilize as it is a cost and time efficient method of resolving issues. We offer a structured Divorce Mediation Process. Typically, couples require between 3-5 sessions generally lasting between 1-2 hours. You will be provided with a documentation package that includes information on commonly asked questions along with a checklist outlining many of the common issues that divorcing couples are faced with including Child Custody and Parenting Plans, Child Support and Division of Marital Assets. Once we have discussed and resolved all of the contested or undecided issues, our office will prepare a package of all of the documentation required to be filed with the Court.

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