Modifying Your Divorce Agreement in Massachusetts

Having the provisions of a divorce agreement modified under Massachusetts law is possible, based on how the separation agreement was written and the circumstances bringing about the request for a modification. Before bringing your modification request to the court, you need to consult with an experienced divorce attorney. The first thing to realize is that there must be a material change in circumstances to request a modification, such as an employment change, a significant change of residence, or change in income. These changes can affect custody agreements and spousal and child support. When drafting a separation agreement, there are two types of provisions addressed in the agreement: surviving and merging. Merging provisions are open to modification. Merging provisions are generally child specific issues like custody arrangements, support, and health insurance. Sometimes alimony can be a merging provision. Surviving provisions are generally not open to modification. An example of surviving provision
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Divorce Modifications in the State of Massachusetts

When the terms of your divorce no longer fit your present circumstances, petitioning for divorce modification can help alter the terms accordingly. In the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, overturning a divorce decree requires an appeal. The appeal process is often drawn-out because one appellate court will need to overturn a lower court’s decision. Appeals are usually unsuccessful except in the case of exceptional and compelling circumstances. The following are common examples of situations that warrant a divorce modification. 1. Moving a long distance from an ex-spouse. 2. A needed increase of alimony. Spousal support is not mandatory in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. It depends upon the income and situation of the spouses. 3. Dramatic increase or decrease of income for former spouse under a child support order. 4. A child not being properly supervised by parent or current partner of parent due to psychological or substance abuse problems. 5. A teenage
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Massachusetts Alimony Reform Law

On September 26, 2011, Governor Deval Patrick signed the Alimony Reform into law. Following the trend of other states, this new Massachusetts law clearly sets out different kinds of alimony, including setting alimony term limits, where the ex-spouse is expected to become self-sufficient within a certain time period. 1. Alimony Term Limits  Long-term marriages (more than 20 years): Alimony will end at retirement age as defined by the Social Security Act. 5 years or less: Maximum Alimony term is 50% of the number of months of marriage. 10 years or less but greater than 5 years: Maximum Alimony term is 60% of the number of months of marriage. 15 years or less but greater than 10 years: Maximum Alimony term is 70% of the number of months of marriage. 20 years or less but greater than 15 years: Maximum Alimony term is 80% of the number of months of marriage.
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