Restore The Original Mass Alimony Reform Law

Legislation needed To fix court's incorrect revision of the law

Massachusetts General Court (legislature)
The Legislature Must Act To Repair Judicial Over-Reach

Bring Back Alimony Reform Lost to SJC Actions

It is a new legislative session! Time to fix the Supreme Judicial Court's (SJC) errors in its three January 2015 decisions (Chin v Merriot, Rodman v Rodman, Doktor v Doktor).

These errors ended alimony reform for persons divorced before March 1, 2012, by reinstating alimony payments:

  • For life; and
  • To recipients who share a common household with someone else (Co-habitating ex-spouses)

The SJC ignored: a) the legislature's clear intent, b) the House and Senate's Alimony Reform Task Force, and c) the many participants supporting the unanimous vote of both the House and Senate, including the Massachusetts Bar Association, The Women's Bar Association, and the Boston Bar Association (see Signed_Law).

Step 1: Communicate! "Support H.740 To Fix Court Revisions"

Let your House and Senate members simply know that you want their support for House Bill H.740, a bill to fix the court's action to legislate from the bench to overturn the original Alimony Reform Law. H.740 was sponsored by 40 members of the Massachusetts legislature. To read more, see Steve Hitner's May 12th Newsletter.

What H.740 Does and Does Not Do.

Does: Allows all payors of alimony the right to File a Complaint to modify based on Cohabitation, Durational Guidelines, and Reaching the age they can Collect their Full Retirement.

Does Not: It is not an automatic Termination of Alimony.

Does: H.740 gives the right to file for modification not any automatic cessation of alimony and certainly not the certainty that it will terminate. But do keep in mind that the bill does say that reaching or having reached the durational limit for alimony under the ARA shall be deemed a material change of circumstance and the judgment shall be modified UNLESS the court finds that deviation from the durational limits is warranted.

Does: So what it really does is shift the burden of proof from the payor to the recipient. In essence relief is to be provided after filing for modification and hearing UNLESS the recipient can meet the burden of showing that continuing some level of alimony is warranted.

Does: If under the deviation factors it should be continued in some amount then it will not be terminated. If the court determines that the recipient has not met the burden of convincing the court that it should continue, then it will terminate.

Does Not: Reaching the durational limit will not automatically terminate alimony. The recipients will have their "day in court" but their alimony will not just be automatically continuing indefinitely after the durational limit without proving that continuation is warranted. That is what the bill does.

Does Not: Similarly cohabitation does not result in an automatic termination. A complaint for modification must be brought and the court will then determine based on the payor meeting his burden of proof whether the alimony should be reduced, suspended or terminated.

Step 2: Tell Your Legislators to Support Passage of H.740

The best way to get a bill passed into law is encourage your House and Senate members to support the bill

To get started, click the link for your State legislator contact information. We recommend calling your legislator directly, rather than initially sending an email. Use an email to follow-up on the call, and then to keep following up.

Please contact Steve Hitner and arrange a meeting with your legislators, so that Steve can bring his supporting information on a) why the Bill is needed, b) the history of the Bill, and c) why supporting the Bill is necessary now.

Steve Hitner
Divorce Coach, Consultant, and Mediator
President, Mass Alimony Reform
Member, 2011 Alimony Reform Task Force
Member, Massachusetts Council on Family Mediation

213 Main Street, Suite 201
Hudson, Mass 01749
Steveh [@]

Step 3: Support mass Alimony Reform with time and donations

Also, please support the Alimony Reform efforts with your time and a donation. Your donation offsets the cost of printing the legislative briefing notebooks, parking in Boston, and other expenses to get the Bill introduced and passed into law.

Massachusetts Alimony Reform

Massachusetts Alimony Reform has been working for more than 10 years to bring peace, independence, and self-sufficiency for the parties to divorce. We have been instrumental in making the public and legislators aware of alimony horror stories. Our multi-year efforts culminated in the Alimony Reform Act becoming law on September 26, 2011.

© Copyright 2015 Massachusetts Alimony Reform