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Changes in Massachusetts have other states taking notice

As a society changes sometimes laws need to be changed as well. Many of our Massachusetts readers probably know that the state has undertaken some drastic changes to alimony law in recent years, and as a result other states have begun to take notice. Changing family dynamics and the economic recession of recent years have had a huge impact on American society, and Massachusetts has not gone unaffected.

In a recent article, the changes to Massachusetts alimony law have been heralded as somewhat of a precursor to the changes that should be made in neighboring New Jersey. The article notes that the current laws in New Jersey are almost identical to what Massachusetts had in place before the alimony laws were reformed, as well as pointing out that the states have a lot of similarities in terms of demographics. Basically the argument is: If Massachusetts can adapt to the times, why can't New Jersey?

The changes in Massachusetts were demanded for years by many. The previous laws allowed quite a bit of leeway in awarding spousal maintenance, and at times those awards would last for years and years - if not a lifetime.

Now, Massachusetts alimony laws calculate amounts and the duration of spousal support based on a set framework. The length of the marriage is now crucial in alimony decisions. However, in most cases it is best for a divorcing couple to attempt to reach an agreement of their own which is satisfactory to both parties. Doing so can leave out the animosity that court battles can bring, which could lead to a more amicable post-divorce relationship. And that can be of the utmost importance if children are involved.

Source: APP.com, "LEUSTEK: Lobby blocks alimony reform," Tom Leustek, Feb. 26, 2013

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