Alimony limits officially signed into law in Massachusetts

Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick signed new state limits on alimony into law on September 26, which will cut many lifetime alimony payment awards in the future, The New York Times reports.

The bill will bring Massachusetts in line with practices in most other states. Before the new law, judges could award lifetime alimony regardless of the length of a marriage and often these awards continued on after an ex-spouse retired or moved in with a new partner.

The new law puts time limits on alimony arrangements based on the length of a marriage. In addition, alimony will stop in most cases when an ex retires.

“It’s a good bill that balanced the needs of the payees and those who are paying their spouses,” a family law lawyer who worked on writing the bill told the news source. “It strikes a balance between the two.”

Massachusetts’ alimony reform could have nationwide implications, as other states may now also move to set specific guidelines regarding the length of alimony. The new law also will impact many people in the state, like John Duff, president emeritus of University of Massachusetts-Lowell. According to the the Washington Times, Duff, 80, has advanced Alzheimer’s disease, but he still must pay $3,000 a month in alimony to his ex-wife 30 years after their divorce.