1. Massachusetts Laws and Law-Making Process
- Massachusetts Divorce Law
- Procedures and Practices for Submitting Legislation To the General Court
- The Law-Making Process In Massachusetts
2. Alimony Case Law Decisions
3. Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Cases
a. 2009: Rudolph F. Pierce v. Carneice G. Pierce SJC No. 10381
b. 2007-2008: Ortiz, Case No.: NO. 2007-P-1390
c. 2005 Ganong Case
2. Types of spousal support. The court may, after consideration of all factors set forth in subsection 5, award or modify spousal support for one or more of the following reasons.
A. General support may be awarded to provide financial assistance to a spouse with substantially less income potential than the other spouse so that both spouses can maintain a reasonable standard of living after the divorce.
(1) There is a rebuttable presumption that general support may not be awarded if the parties were married for less than 10 years as of the date of the filing of the action for divorce. There is also a rebuttable presumption that general support may not be awarded for a term exceeding 1/2 the length of the marriage if the parties were married for at least 10 years but not more than 20 years as of the date of the filing of the action for divorce.
(2) If the court finds that a spousal support award based upon a presumption established by this paragraph would be inequitable or unjust, that finding is sufficient to rebut the applicable presumption. [1999, c. 634, §3 (NEW).]
B. Transitional support may be awarded to provide for a spouse's transitional needs, including, but not limited to:
(1) Short-term needs resulting from financial dislocations associated with the dissolution of the marriage; or
(2) Reentry or advancement in the work force, including, but not limited to, physical or emotional rehabilitation services, vocational training and education. [1999, c. 634, §3 (NEW).]
C. Reimbursement support may be awarded to achieve an equitable result in the overall dissolution of the parties' financial relationship in response to exceptional circumstances. Exceptional circumstances include, but are not limited to:
(1) Economic misconduct by a spouse; and
(2) Substantial contributions a spouse made towards the educational or occupational advancement of the other spouse during the marriage.
Reimbursement support may be awarded only if the court determines that the parties' financial circumstances do not permit the court to fully address equitable considerations through its distributive order pursuant to section 953. [1999, c. 634, §3 (NEW).]
D. Nominal support may be awarded to preserve the court's authority to grant spousal support in the future. [1999, c. 634, §3 (NEW).]
E. Interim support may be awarded to provide for a spouse's separate support during the pendency of an action for divorce or judicial separation. [1999, c. 634, §3 (NEW).]
[ 1999, c. 634, §3 (NEW) .]
2) Texas: http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/, Chapter 8 under Family Code
Sec. 8.051. ELIGIBILITY FOR MAINTENANCE; COURT ORDER. In a suit for dissolution of a marriage or in a proceeding for maintenance in a court with personal jurisdiction over both former spouses following the dissolution of their marriage by a court that lacked personal jurisdiction over an absent spouse, the court may order maintenance for either spouse only if:
(1) the spouse from whom maintenance is requested was convicted of or received deferred adjudication for a criminal offense that also constitutes an act of family violence under Title 4 and the offense occurred:
__(A) within two years before the date on which a suit for dissolution of the marriage is filed; or
__(B) while the suit is pending; or
(2) the duration of the marriage was 10 years or longer, the spouse seeking maintenance lacks sufficient property, including property distributed to the spouse under this code, to provide for the spouse's minimum reasonable needs, as limited by Section 8.054, and the spouse seeking maintenance:
__(A) is unable to support himself or herself through appropriate employment because of an incapacitating physical or mental disability;
__(B) is the custodian of a child of the marriage of any age who requires substantial care and personal supervision because a physical or mental disability makes it necessary, taking into consideration the needs of the child, that the spouse not be employed outside the home; or
__(C) clearly lacks earning ability in the labor market adequate to provide support for the spouse's minimum reasonable needs, as limited by Section 8.054.
Sec. 8.053. PRESUMPTION. (a) Except as provided by Subsection (b), it is presumed that maintenance under Section 8.051(2) is not warranted unless the spouse seeking maintenance has exercised diligence in:
__(1) seeking suitable employment; or
__(2) developing the necessary skills to become self-supporting during a period of separation and during the time the suit for dissolution of the marriage is pending.
(b) This section does not apply to a spouse who is not able to satisfy the presumption in Subsection (a) because the spouse:
__(1) has an incapacitating physical or mental disability; or
__(2) is the custodian of a child of the marriage of any age who requires substantial care and personal supervision because a physical or mental disability makes it necessary, taking into consideration the needs of the child, that the spouse not be employed outside the home.
Sec. 8.054. DURATION OF MAINTENANCE ORDER. (a) Except as provided by Subsection (b), a court:
(1) may not order maintenance that remains in effect for more than three years after the date of the order; and
(2) shall limit the duration of a maintenance order to the shortest reasonable period that allows the spouse seeking maintenance to meet the spouse's minimum reasonable needs by obtaining appropriate employment or developing an appropriate skill, unless the ability of the spouse to provide for the spouse's minimum reasonable needs through employment is substantially or totally diminished because of:
__(A) physical or mental disability;
__(B) duties as the custodian of an infant or young child; or
__(C) another compelling impediment to gainful employment.
(b) If a spouse seeking maintenance is unable to support himself or herself through appropriate employment because the spouse has an incapacitating physical or mental disability or because the spouse is the custodian of a child of the marriage of any age who has a physical or mental disability, the court may order maintenance for as long as the disability continues. The court may order periodic review of its order, on the request of either party or on its own motion, to determine whether the disability continues to render the spouse unable to support himself or herself through appropriate employment. The continuation of spousal maintenance under these circumstances is subject to a motion to modify as provided by Section 8.057.
Sec. 8.055. AMOUNT OF MAINTENANCE. (a) A court may not order maintenance that requires an obligor to pay monthly more than the lesser of:
__(1) $2,500; or
__(2) 20 percent of the spouse's average monthly gross income.
(b) The court shall set the amount that an obligor is required to pay in a maintenance order to provide for the minimum reasonable needs of the obligee, considering employment or property received in the dissolution of the marriage or otherwise owned by the obligee that contributes to the minimum reasonable needs of the obligee.
(c) Department of Veterans Affairs service-connected disability compensation, social security benefits and disability benefits, and workers' compensation benefits are excluded from maintenance.
(d) For purposes of this chapter, "gross income" means resources as defined in Sections 154.062(b) and (c), disregarding any deductions listed in Section 154.062(d) and disregarding those benefits excluded under Subsection (c) of this section