Alimony Reform Act

┬áSince the inception of the Alimony Reform Act, there have been several cases that have been appealed. Some of these appellate decisions have provided us with additional clarity and an understanding. A recent Supreme Court decision, Snow v. Snow Docket No.: SJC-12102 in determining the intent of the legislature as to when the legislature intended the durational limit of general term alimony to commence, ” they looked first to the language of the relevant statute, which is ” the clearest window into the collective mind of the legislature”. Holmes v. Holmes, 467 Mass. at 659. Under M.G.L. c. 208 sec. 49 (b), “general term alimony cannot continue for not longer than a fixed percentage of the number of months of the marriage: And it can not continue unless it has been awarded. Thus, until a judge has awarded general term alimony, the durational term alimony does not begin to run. In this case, alimony was not addressed at trial. The trial judge in Snow relied upon the mistaken premise that the wife’s action was a complaint for modification rather than an initial complaint for alimony, the actual time that the clock begins to run.

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