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April 5, 2013

In September 2011, the Massachusetts legislature signed into law the Alimony Reform Act of 2011 significantly altering the landscape of alimony awards in divorce cases.  One specific provision of the statute has caused some stir in regards to how alimony is calculated when the divorcing parties also have minor children.  Mass. G.L. 208 section 53(c)(2) reads:

(c) When issuing an order for alimony, the court shall exclude from its income calculation:

(2) gross income which the court has already considered for setting a child support order.

Although, this provision of the reform act has yet to be interpreted by an appellate level court in Massachusetts, many family law practitioners have read this provision to mean that any income used in calculating a child support order, cannot be used in calculating an award of alimony. For example, if the husband makes $100,000.00 a year, and a child support order is issued based upon husband’s gross salary of $100,000.00, no alimony award will issue as his income has already been used in calculating the child support order.

Some trial court judges are attempting to work around this provision by awarding alimony before calculating child support, but this practice is inconsistent from judge to judge. It may be quite some time before this issue reaches the Appeal’s Court and the issue can be definitively ruled on.

If you are currently going through a divorce and have questions or concerns over child support and/or alimony please contact Sean Beagan at Beagan Law Office today at 781-393-9948 to schedule a free consultation.


From → Family Law

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