Massachusetts Alimony Reform

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Massachusetts Alimony Reform

Post by Skitz » Wed Dec 26, 2007 11:39 pm

Mass Alimony Reform is an affiliate of the Alliance and is actively engaged in a campaign to promote passage of legislation it has submitted to the Massachusetts legislature that would significantly reform alimony in Massachusetts.

Web link = http://www.massalimonyreform.org/
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Post by Skitz » Sun Jan 20, 2008 7:37 pm

The MassAlimony group has had some impressive success lately. New alimony reform legislation drafted by them and submitted by a friendly state rep has moved along to the next level.

On Thursday, this week, there will be a hearing on the bill before the legislature's "Joint committee on the judiciary". A number of members of the local group will be at the state house to testify in favor of the passage of this legislation. Should the committee report this bill out favorably it will again move to the next level, perhaps even to the house floor for a vote?

The leaders of MassAlimonyReform are to be commended for doing a top notch job on this, win or lose. They have good legal advice, they have secured the assistance of a public relations person, they have found sympathetic legislators to help them, and they have given freely of their own time and resources.

They have decided on issuing a full press release in advance of this hearing and that text will be posted here when it is available.

Good job!

UPDATE!!

The above-mentioned press release is now available for download. You can find the link here:

viewtopic.php?t=140
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Post by Skitz » Fri Mar 28, 2008 5:09 pm

Just got this email from Steve Hitner. If you are within listening range of this radio station try to participate.
Hi Group,

Peter Blute, former Congressman and Radio Talk Show host has asked me to be on his show on Wednesday, April 2, 2008. The show will begin at aprox 9:00 AM and will run for a full hour. The station is WCRN 830 AM. This is a great station, as it broadcasts all the RED SOX baseball games and has a hugh following in the Boston Area. Broadcasting 50,000 Watts, it has a large listening area, and most people can hear it thruought the State. and Central New England.

This is a fantastic opportunity to get our message out and get the support of many people. The fact that he and his station want to devote a fill hour to this subject means that they feel there is a story that needs to be heard.

If you can't get it on your radio, you can listen thru your computer and still call in.

Studio Line: (508) 792-0124

All of you must tune in and be a part of this show!! If you can't be available, E-mail Peter your thoughts, participate any way that you can, but participate!



Below is a bio of our host.
Peter Blute
PeterBlute@WCRNradio.com

Peter Blute has had a long and varied career in Massachusetts Government, Politics and the Media. Peter was elected to the Massachusetts House of Representatives in 1986 and served until he was elected as a member of the United States House of Representatives. After serving two terms, Peter took the job of Executive Director of the Massachusetts Port Authority and smoothly made the transition to talk show host at WRKO in Boston. After 6 years he was lured to WCRN and is currently the host of The Peter Blute Show which airs weekday mornings from 6-10AM on AM 830 WCRN.

Best Regards,

Steve Hitner
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Post by Skitz » Thu Dec 04, 2008 9:11 pm

Mass Alimony Reform has a new look to their Web site now:

http://www.massalimonyreform.org/
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Post by Skitz » Fri Dec 19, 2008 9:52 pm

In a recent note, Steve Hitner of Mass Alimony Reform informs the group that the 2009 effort to enact alimony reform in Massachusetts has already been planned. Following the strong 2008 campaign, which went a long way toward publicizing and advancing the cause, it is hoped that 2009 will be the year that Massachusetts finally updates its alimony laws.

Dear All,

First, Happy Holidays to all who are involved in the Massachusetts Alimony Reform Movement - a quick email on your part can20make a difference now - see the end of this email for details.

As we are all bustling about preparing for the Holidays there has been a massive effort going on behind the scenes preparing for the filing of the 2009 Legislation to reform Massachusetts Alimony. - a copy of the proposed legislation is at the end of this email.

As you see in the subject line "5 Minutes for $50,000" well it could be $5,000 or $500,000+ in savings when we reform alimony. Just imagine not having the incredible financial burden of those monthly payments - your action now can make a difference. Between now and January 14th we need to build a critical mass of support from legislators for co-sponsorship of our bill.

What you can do today is email your House Rep and Senator, wish them a happy holiday, and tell them you will be in contact with them the first of the year to discuss their support of Alimony Reform.

Link to email addresses of State Senators http://www.mass.gov/legis/memmenus.htm

Link to email addresses of State Representatives http://www.mass.gov/legis/memmenuh.htm

To make it as simple as possible, feel free to cut and paste the following.
____________________________________________________________

I would like to wish you and your staff a safe and happy holiday season and to thank you for the attention you have given my cause, Massachusetts Alimony Reform, to date. New legislation will be filed for 2009 to reform current alimony laws and I will be in contact with your office the first week of January for an appointment to discuss this issue with you,

Happy Holidays


Name
Street Address
City
Phone

______________________________________________________

There will be additional information forthcoming about a few a two day State House blanketing of Mass Alimony Reform members to solicit co-sponsorship the week of January 14th.



God Bless and Happy Holidays wreath.gif

Deborah A. Scanlan, Vice President MAR

Steve Hitner, President

MASS ALIMONY REFORM

160 Main Street

Marlborough, Ma 01752

steveh@massalimonyreform.org

www.massalimonyreform.org
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Post by Skitz » Wed Feb 18, 2009 9:35 pm

The Mass Alimony group is back again in this year's session of the Massachusetts legislature with House Bill 1567 to reform alimony in Massachusetts.

They have gotten about one third of the 200 legislators in the House and Senate to so-sponsor this legislation. This is an extremely good sign that the bill has broad support and may have a very good chance of advancing in this session. Few bills get this many co-sponsors.

Nothing is certain of course, and the state does have pressing financial and economic concerns to deal with, but we are very much hoping this will be the year they finally take some action on our issue.

Wish us luck.
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Post by Skitz » Fri Jan 27, 2012 3:00 am

Your View: March 1 brings sea change in alimony awards

By Lynn Whitney
Attorney Lynn Whitney is a partner in the law firm of Whitney and Pacheco and has been practicing law in New Bedford for 31 years.
January 27, 2012 12:00 AM

Alimony awards in divorce cases were always up to the judge hearing the case and varied widely between particular judges and particular counties in Massachusetts. Once alimony was awarded, there could be no limit on its duration, although it would be subject to change if there was a "material" change of circumstances, again, depending on the particular judge's discretion.

No more. On March 1, 2012, the Alimony Reform Act of 2011 takes effect. This law provides guidelines for how long alimony will be awarded to a spouse, how much can be awarded and it terminates at the retirement of the payor at the Social Security retirement age except under very limited circumstances. It also cuts off alimony to spouses who are cohabitating with a romantic partner. There is also a new category of alimony, "reimbursement alimony," which is available to a spouse married less than five years to compensate for economic or other contribution to the payor spouse, such as enabling the payor spouse to complete an education or job training.........................
http://www.southcoasttoday.com/apps/pbc ... -1/NEWSMAP
(click for full text)

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Post by Skitz » Tue Mar 27, 2012 12:29 am

An aftermath article about the new Massachusetts alimony law:
Overhaul of alimony law wins praise

Published: Monday, March 26, 2012, 9:14 AM Updated: Monday, March 26, 2012, 9:15 AM

SPRINGFIELD - It has inspired jokes, led to jail sentences and been lamented in dozens of country-and-western songs.

Alimony - court-ordered financial support for a divorced spouse - is a legal concept perhaps best explained by author Lewis Grizzard as "the price you pay for the fun you had."

Until a sweeping overhaul was approved last year, the price was higher in Massachusetts than in most states, partly due to practice of awarding lifetime payments for short-term marriages.

Despite its progressive reputation, Massachusetts resisted overhauling alimony laws for decades, stranding lawyers, judges and divorced couples in a legal backwater rife with unpredictable and sometimes bizarre outcomes.

When the reforms took effect on March 1, all that changed.

For the first time, the law establishes clear guidelines for the duration of alimony payments, essentially eliminating lifetime support and allowing judges to end payments to former spouses living with new partners, regardless of whether they are married.

The law also establishes a formula for alimony, based on the length of the marriage. For example, alimony would generally last no more than 101/2 years following a 15-year marriage.

Even long-term alimony obligations will often stop at retirement age; also, specific categories of.........................
http://www.masslive.com/news/index.ssf/ ... ins_p.html
(click for full text)

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Re: Massachusetts Alimony Reform

Post by Skitz » Mon Aug 04, 2014 1:33 am

North Shore couple's divorce tests state's new alimony law

Aug. 02--MARBLEHEAD -- In one of the first legal challenges of the state's 2011 alimony reform law, the Supreme Judicial Court has concluded that a Marblehead woman is entitled to no more than five years of "rehabilitative" alimony from her investment analyst husband, and not the general, or long-term, alimony she was seeking.

But the court also upheld a finding that Carolyn Balas-Zaleski was entitled to 35 percent of her husband's income during those five years, rather than an amount solely based on "need," because the couple had lived an "upper middle-class lifestyle" that included travel, boating, private schools for the children and other luxuries.

The SJC sent the case back to Salem Probate and Family Court, however, because it found that Judge Amy Blake had erred when she based the amount of alimony on Stephen Zaleski's$400,000-a-year base salary, without factoring in annual bonuses that in some years had nearly doubled that amount.

Blake did not order child support for the couple's teenage children, but did not make it clear whether the alimony order of $11,667 a month Zaleski was supposed to pay -- a total of 35 percent of his base salary -- was intended to also support the children.

The SJC also found that Carolyn Balas-Zaleski shouldn't have been required to maintain a costly, $1.6 million life insurance policy that would go to her husband if she died, something that her lawyers had argued would create a windfall of cash for her former husband.

"We conclude that it was not an abuse of discretion to award rehabilitative alimony, and that the allocation of debt and division of property between the parties was warranted by the evidence," Justice Fernande Duffly wrote in the court's decision...............................
http://insurancenewsnet.com/oarticle/20 ... 39189.html
(click for full text)

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Re: Massachusetts Alimony Reform

Post by Skitz » Wed Feb 11, 2015 5:53 pm

Some good news and some bad news. The SJC ruled on 3 alimony cases finding that cohabitation and retirement were not valid grounds for dismissal of alimony orders while upholding durational limitations as valid grounds for dismissal of alimony obligations.
3 Cases That Significantly Impact Alimony Law

On January 30, 2015, the SJC issued three decisions with significant impact on the right to seek modification of an alimony order issued prior to the enactment of Massachusetts’ Alimony Reform Act. The uncodified provisions of the alimony reform act are what the SJC has relied on in determining that only the durational limits on payment of alimony apply to alimony cases decided before March 1, 2012, while the retirement provisions and cohabitation provisions do not. Uncodified provisions of an act express the legislature’s view on some aspect of the act’s operation and are not the source of the substantive provisions of the law. Below are the details on the three cases.................
http://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/3-case ... mon-43529/
(click for full text)

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Re: Massachusetts Alimony Reform

Post by Skitz » Tue May 19, 2015 7:19 pm

The Mass. Alimony Reform Website has been completely done over and has a nice, modern new look.
Check it out when you get a chance.

http://www.massalimonyreform.org/index.html

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Re: Massachusetts Alimony Reform

Post by Skitz » Thu Feb 25, 2016 6:48 pm

After Mass Alimony Reform worked hard for years to achieve the Massachusetts Alimony Reform Act of 2011, and spending a year hammering out the language details in the most unambiguous terms with representatives from the judiciary, the government and legal representatives from both sides of the alimony issue, the Mass. Supreme Judicial Court, in their wisdom, decided what the law clearly said was not actually what it meant. So they ruled that the provision regarding a payor spouse's retirement age and the provision regarding cohabitation, did not apply to pre-existing divorces.

As a result, there is a new effort to make these provisions even more clear and more unambiguous. I hope they are able to do this without making the situation even worse.
Mass. lawmakers consider changes to alimony law

BOSTON —
Just four years after the state passed a sweeping alimony reform law, a new alimony bill was filed at the Massachusetts Statehouse to fix some of the confusion and problems that have arisen

In March 2012, following a year long investigation by FOX25 into how alimony was handled in the state, legislators unanimously passed a new law to reform the system.

The purpose of the law was to make alimony need based and end the practice of alimony for life. It was said to be a model for the country

Chester Chin, from Turner Falls, was one of the first to seek relief from the bill in 2012.

The retired teacher hoped a judge would put an end to his payments based on his financial situation compared to that of his ex-wife’s.

“Over $800 a month is going in that direction,” He said. “When I read the law, I said ‘well, there's a chance to get my life back on track.’”

Chin’s case went all the way to the state’s highest court, and after legal fees topped $12,000 the alimony payments were upheld.

“To have our case dismissed and really rejected it was just mind blowing to this day I can't understand how it happened," Lisa Chin, Chester's current wife, said..............
http://www.myfoxboston.com/news/mass-la ... /105845653
(click for full text)

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Re: Massachusetts Alimony Reform

Post by Skitz » Sat Mar 05, 2016 2:25 am

More Alimony Reform in Massachusetts?

3/4/2016 by Robin Lynch Nardone | Burns & Levinson LLP

In March 2012, Massachusetts law on alimony was reformed and codified as General Laws Chapter 208, sections 48 – 55. A judicial hearing has been set for Monday, March 7, 2016 at 1 p.m. at the State House seeking further reform of the alimony statute.

The 2012 alimony reform provided for:

--Durational limits.

--Termination of alimony upon a payor reaching retirement age.

--Reduction or termination of an alimony obligation when a recipient cohabitates.

In 2015, the Supreme Judicial Court issued decisions in three cases interpreting the alimony law and held that only the durational limits apply to alimony cases decided (or settled) before March 1, 2012, while the retirement provisions and cohabitation provisions do not.

The three SJC decisions interpreting the alimony reform law meant that those paying alimony pursuant to a Judgment pre-dating March 2012 could not obtain termination of their alimony obligation based solely upon reaching full retirement age and could not point to the recipient spouse’s cohabitation as the sole grounds for termination or reduction of the alimony obligation..................
http://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/more-a ... tts-48533/
(click for full text)

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Re: Massachusetts Alimony Reform

Post by Skitz » Wed Mar 30, 2016 1:35 am

On March 7 a hearing for House bill 4034 was held at the Massachusetts state house. Steve Hitner, president of Massachusetts Alimony Reform reports:
Close to 40 MAR members, wearing something red, attended. Due to the many speakers in attendance, approximately 25 were able to testify. The testimonies were compelling, professional and received great interest from the committee members. The Committee Chairs, Senator William N. Brownsberger and Representative John Fernandes listened attentively as one speaker after another gave reason to support H 4034. Even Representative and Co-Chair, John Fernandes spoke to the SJC misinterpretation and the need to move H 4034 along as quickly as possible.

There were no opposing speakers.

A highlight was when Atty. David Lee, one of the most respected lawyers in the country, explained possibly why the SJC got it wrong and made the case for why the Judiciary needs to move H 4034 forward as quickly as possible. He talked about the havoc being created in the courts, from a Lawyers prospective. There were many other Lawyers in attendance expressing to me their thanks for our participation in pushing for reform. In a packed room full of people with different issues, as a group, MAR members stood out as a powerful, well organized and well educated organization.

My sincere thanks to all of you who attended as a supporter in the room and as a speaker giving your testimony. All of you need to be proud of yourselves and the time you spent to make the world a better place.
Update:
This bill is moving along in the legislative pipeline.
Now that the Joint Committee on the Judiciary has given it's blessing many of you want to know what is next.

The bill is now known as House bill 4110 and has been referred to the House Committee on Steering, Policy and Scheduling.
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Re: Massachusetts Alimony Reform

Post by Skitz » Mon Apr 04, 2016 11:14 pm

Massachusetts Alimony Reform Founder Speaks To Minnesota Group

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The push for alimony reform has made its way to Minnesota. Supporters got advice from someone with experience on the topic on Saturday.

Steve Hitner, the founder of Massachusetts Alimony Reform talked to the Minnesota group in Edina this afternoon....
http://minnesota.cbslocal.com/2016/04/0 ... ota-group/
(click for full text)

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