Thursday, April 23, 2009

Q of the Week: What is the Stevenson-Kelsey Spousal Support Calculator?

UPDATE: There is pending legislation for major changes to the alimony statute in Massachusetts. The Alimony Reform Act of 2011 was filed on January 18, 2011 and you can learn more about the Act at MassAlimonyFormula.com or in our recent blog post highlighting the differences between the bill and the current law.

Alimony, also called spousal support, is paid by the wage-earning spouse (the spouse who has traditionally earned the majority of the income during the marriage) to the non-wage-earning spouse to allow the non-wage-earning spouse to continue to live in the lifestyle to which he or she has become accustomed during the marriage assuming their is enough income to do so.

There is not currently any formula enacted or endorsed by the Massachusetts Legislature or the Courts for the calculation of alimony. The amount of alimony is dependent on the consideration of all of the factors described in M.G.L. c. 208 Section 34. You should consult an attorney to discuss how the facts in your case fit the factors of Section 34.

Some states use formulas to calculate presumptive alimony. And notwithstanding Section 34, some Judges in Massachusetts have suggested doing the same in Massachusetts. A Joint Task Force of the Massachusetts Bar Association and the Boston Bar Association has prepared a draft report which also suggests a formula to calculate the maximum alimony award possible.

Although the Court has no obligation to follow these formulas they can be a valuable resource in helping parties understand a reasonable potential range of spousal support orders. Attorney Justin L. Kelsey of Kelsey & Trask, P.C. in Natick, Massachusetts, in a joint project with Attorney Scott R. Stevenson, Esq. of Hingham, Massachusetts, has created the Stevenson-Kelsey Spousal Support Calculator which includes all of these formulas and can be accessed by clicking here.

The sources for each formula are referenced in the accompanying article which can be accessed by clicking here.

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