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Important Update on Cohabitation and Retirement in MA Alimony

Important Update on Cohabitation and Retirement in MA Alimony

On 1/30/15, the highest court in MA clarified some issues that created confusion following the passage of the 2012 law called The Alimony Reform Act. The law includes provisions that provide relief to people paying alimony 1) if the person paying reaches legal retirement age, and 2.) if the former spouse is cohabitating (living) with someone.

The Court ruled that if the divorce was finalized before the alimony law went into effect on 3/1/12, the retirement and cohabitation provisions of the new law do NOT apply. Since the new law has been in place, a number of people have been to court on these issues. Once side arguing that the court CAN make a change to those older alimony orders under the new law, and the other side it CANNOT. The latter were correct.

So essentially, the rehabilitation and cohabitation provisions of the MA Alimony Reform Act only apply to divorces finalized AFTER 3/1/12. E.g. You were divorced in 2010, and you’re approaching social security retirement age later this year, you CANNOT use the new law to get relief. If you were divorced before 3/1/12 and want alimony relief, you can still request a modification if you can show a “material change in circumstance,” which has always been the standard for relief.


Acushnet (02743), Attleboro (02703), Berkley, Dartmouth, Dighton, Easton, Fairhaven, Fall River, Freetown, Mansfield, New Bedford, North Attleborough, Norton, Raynham, Rehoboth, Somerset, Seekonk, Swansea, Taunton, and Westport.

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