New Law Brings Innovative Alimony Changes

A new law affecting how alimony is run will go into effect on March 1, 2012.  This new law has some drastic changes as compared to the previous rulings.  These changes include a threshold on the extent of alimony payments depending upon duration of marriage, conclusion of alimony payments upon reaching retirement age, conclusion or decrease in alimony payments if spouse is living with a partner, and thresholds on income and percentages of alimony commitments.

The limits on alimony take into account the duration of the marriage, if the marriage lasted twenty years or less.  If the marriage lasted over twenty years, these limits are not applied.  These payments last 50-80% of the length of the marriage.  The extent of marriage is measured from the wedding day to the petition for divorce.

Retirement age also signifies that alimony payments no longer need to be paid. Retirement age is generally between 65 and 67 years of age.

Alimony payments may be reduced or stopped altogether if spouse is residing with another individual.  However, the spouse paying for alimony must present evidence that the other spouse has been residing with a partner for a minimum of three months.  Such evidence includes statements made by the couple, economic distribution, discussion of future plans of cohabitation, community awareness of the couple, and other mutual benefits. 

This law also covers how alimony payments cannot surpass the needs of the beneficiary.  It should also be between 30-35% of the difference between the participants’ gross incomes.  Original division of assets is not included in these numbers.  Also, income from a second job is not taken into account in these payments.


The time frame for filing a change to alimony orders will vary to keep from a flood of new law proceedings.  The time frame for filing these changes is from March 1, 2013 to September 1, 2015, and this varies depending on the length of marriage.  However, in regards to spouse cohabitation changes or reaching of retirement age, an individual may file a change as early as March 1, 2013. 

These are only some of the changes that this new law covers.  If you believe you are entitled to a change in alimony, contact a lawyer dealing in divorce or family proceedings.


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