BOSTON (AP) — Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick has signed a sweeping overhaul of the state’s alimony statutes into law.

The new law establishes guidelines for alimony payments and limits their duration, virtually ending so-called “lifetime alimony” payments ordered by some judges in divorce cases.

One of the biggest changes in the law would set limits on how long a spouse can receive alimony, based on how long the couple was married.

Patrick signed the bill at a Statehouse press conference on Monday.

The state’s earlier alimony laws didn’t set any time limits. The bill’s supporters said the new guidelines will help judges make fair decisions.

The new law also allows a judge to end alimony payments if the individual receiving payments is living with a new partner — even if they haven’t formally married.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

  1. Denise Musto says:

    Thank you Steve and Jeannie, wonderful work and persistence. A law that will help many people. An injustice that took way too long to come to light. Denise Musto

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