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I provide experienced legal guidance in family law, divorce and special education law. I represent parents and families throughout western Massachusetts.

Modifying alimony agreements in Massachusetts

Massachusetts residents who are planning to divorce often worry about the amount of alimony, also known as spousal support, that they might have to pay from their total income per month. In some cases, either spouse who has been ordered by the court to pay alimony will strive to make some major changes to the alimony agreement in order to make the payments more easily.

In order to modify an alimony order, the spouse who is petitioning the court for a change in the alimony agreement needs to prove that there has been a significant change in the situations of the ex-spouses. Alimony is stopped completely if the former ex-spouse who has been receiving alimony payments re-marries. Additionally, when a former spouse who previously received alimony dies, alimony will be stopped by the court upon petition.

The laws relating to alimony have changed considerably in Massachusetts since 2012. Any individual who was obligated to pay for spousal support under the old law also has the legal right to petition the court for a change in the alimony agreement because the old law dictated that the spouse must continue paying alimony for a longer time period.

A nominal application fee needs to be filed, according to the state law, in order to file a petition for alimony modification. In some cases, the ex-spouses may file for the alimony modification jointly. The filing fees for such modification petitions are $115 for individual filings and $120 for a joint filing. Once the court has been petitioned, it will notify the ex-spouses regarding the petition for alimony modification. The defendant in such petitions has the right to object or respond within 20 days. Prompt filings, as well as prompt replies, become crucial in such legal petitions.

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Claudette-Jean Girard, Attorney at Law
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