February 25, 2016
By Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization
As readers of the National Parents Organization blog well know, with NPO’s help, Massachusetts substantially reformed its alimony law back in 2011. That reform was far-reaching and much needed. It took much discretion away from judges and for the most part ended permanent alimony. It also allowed payments to end when the payer retired or the recipient began cohabiting with another adult.
But, as readers of the blog also know, the Bay State’s judges were determined that, when it came to retirement and cohabitation at least, the law didn’t mean what the legislature so obviously intended. Hence the need to reform the reform.
NPO’s friend Steve Hitner explains.
"After many months and several meetings of the Alimony Reform Task Force, a Bill has been filed to repair the damage done by the mis-interpretation of the Alimony Reform Act of 2011 by the SJC. The bill that was crafted by the Attorneys, the Legislators and the Chief Justices and myself is aimed at correcting any language that may have allowed Lawyers and Judges to have an interpretation that the Act did not apply to pre-existing divorces when dealing with the retirement and co-habitation issues.
The Bill, HD4546 gives definition and clarity that leaves no question of the original intent of the Alimony Reform Act of 2011, that was approved unanimously by both the House and Senate and signed without hesitation by Gov. Patrick on Sept. 26, 2011. "
But of course, to file a bill is not to pass it. Yes, the 2011 bill was passed unanimously, but that doesn’t mean legislators don’t need to hear from you about your support for the new bill. They do. So check out Hitner’s website, Mass Alimony Reform, to see how to support this important piece of legislation.