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Fathers and Families

MA Bill to Abolish Lifetime Alimony Signed into Law
September 27, 2011
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Massachusetts Bill to End Lifetime Alimony Signed into Law

Fathers and Families, Massachusetts Alimony Reform, and others have long agitated for alimony reform in Massachusetts, and these efforts have now come to fruition. Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick signed an alimony reform bill that will end the lifetime alimony burden that family courts have placed on many Massachusetts obligors.

F & F founder and Board Chairman Ned Holstein, MD, MS explains:

“This is a terrific step forward. It is a win for both men and women. Men will not usually be required to pay forever. Women who deserve short-term alimony will now get it.

“But this law only gets half the job done. The next step is to rid the alimony issue of gender bias — the idea that only men should pay it and only women should receive it. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in two-earner couples today, women out-earn men in about 33% of couples. Yet women are alimony payers in only 4% of cases. We need an even-handed approach.”

The Boston Globe explains:

The measure adds some consistency to alimony judgments by curbing lifetime alimony payments and providing caps on the number of years a spouse can receive alimony. The legislation also allows judges more flexibility to make determinations based on a family’s specific circumstances.

In most cases, it will put an end to lifetime alimony payments, instead capping the number of years of payment according to the length of marriage.

But family law attorneys are also hoping that the law will allow people divorcing from shorter marriages - people who previously would have received no alimony - to receive a brief period of payments, just enough to get them through the transition period after the divorce.

Under the new law, a judge can rule to end alimony payments if the recipient is living with a new partner in a marriage-like situation.

Fathers and Families congratulates Steve Hitner of Massachusetts Alimony Reform and all the others whose hard work helped lead to this reform.

F & F’s Holstein Discusses Alimony Reform on WXKS in Boston (Audio Available)

Fathers and Families founder and Board Chairman Ned Holstein, MD, MS discussed the new Massachusetts alimony law on the Jeff Katz Show on AM WXKS 1200 in Boston this morning. To listen to the interview, click here.

The bill, signed by Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick yesterday, will largely end the lifetime alimony burden that family courts have placed on many Massachusetts obligors.

Dr. Holstein cautioned that the new law, while a big step forward, could still be undermined by the gender bias pervasive in family courts. He explained:

“Whatever people think is the right and fair solution [on alimony], it should be the same for men and for women.”

Dr. Holstein criticized Patrick for his judicial selections, some of which he called “awful.” He explained:

“One of his appointments was a woman whose law practice in Cambridge had been called the ‘Women’s Law Center’ and he appointed her to be a family court judge. She had never represented a man because she didn’t believe in it, and now she’s adjudicating cases between men and women.”
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Red Sox Pitcher Needlessly Targeted in High-Profile Child Support Case
Boston Red Sox pitcher Erik Bedard.
Red Sox pitcher Erik Bedard was served child support papers shortly before a ballgame last week. Courtney Roberts, 38, of Lexington, Ky., the mother of Bedard’s daughter Julie, is seeking to tear up their previous agreement on child support and get a higher amount based on Bedard’s increased earnings.

Fathers and Families Board Chairman Ned Holstein, MD, MS says:

“Bedard is already paying nearly $80,000 a year for his daughter, as well as another $80,000 for his daughter’s education. Most of this money is tax-free to Roberts--a very large sum for one child, particularly in Kentucky.

“The Kentucky Court of Appeals has already ruled against Roberts twice—she’s simply forum shopping. Having lost there, she’s trying to hit the jackpot here in Massachusetts.

“Julie’s needs are very generously funded. Whatever else Erik might choose to buy for his daughter should be up to his heart, not up to the government.  If a wealthy married couple chose to spend ‘only’ $80,000 per year on their child, no one would think twice about it. Why should parental separation change that?”

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