Vermont Alimony Reform

If you are leading a group fighting against alimony please start a new Topic here.

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Vermont Alimony Reform

Postby Skitz » Mon Mar 14, 2016 2:27 am

I am pleased to tell you that Vermont now has an alimony reform group. We wish them the best of luck in bringing their alimony laws into the 21st century.

http://vtalimonyreform.com/

TASK FORCE MAY CONSIDER ALIMONY REFORM
MAR. 11, 2016, 7:40 PM BY MIKE FAHER

A Brattleboro businessman’s push to reform Vermont’s alimony laws appears to be gaining traction in the Legislature.

The Senate Judiciary Committee on Friday unanimously approved a bill that would create a “Spousal Support and Maintenance Task Force” to consider whether changes are needed in the state’s alimony statute. That vote came two days after Rick Fleming, president of Vermont Alimony Reform, made an impassioned pitch to committee members.

Chairman Dick Sears, D-Bennington, didn’t endorse any specific shifts in the law. But after hearing Fleming’s request for more clarity and uniformity in the statute, Sears said it’s worth taking a look.

“At least to give an opportunity for us to review our current statutes regarding alimony, I don’t think it’s a bad idea,” Sears said.

Fleming began pursuing alimony reform due to his own experiences. He said he pays more than $2,300 monthly to his ex-wife, and his attempts to get that payment lowered have been unsuccessful. Meanwhile, Fleming said a downturn in his oil business – which he was forced to sell – has led to financial problems that have been ignored by the courts..................

https://vtdigger.org/2016/03/11/alimony/
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Re: Vermont Alimony Reform

Postby Skitz » Wed Oct 26, 2016 10:15 pm

White an ally in alimony reform

I support Jeanette White in her Vermont Senate campaign this year.
White has been extremely helpful to Windham County in many ways throughout her career in the Senate. She has always been willing to listen to any constituent’s problem and offer suggestions or work to propose legislation to address their concerns.
On a personal level, White has been very helpful in addressing alimony reform in Vermont. I approached her 18 months ago asking her for help in updating and modifying our state’s outdated alimony statutes..........

http://www.commonsnews.org/site/site05/ ... BFwfC0rJOQ
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Re: Vermont Alimony Reform

Postby Skitz » Mon Jan 23, 2017 1:57 am

The headline highlights what bothers me about efforts to reform alimony. The "judiciary" objects. And why? Because reform infringes on their power to rule over their fiefdoms. The judge is there to apply the law and to determine guilt or innocence, right and wrong. They are not there to wield the power of "fairness" as THEY see it. It's like giving a clerk in a supermarket the power to decide who should pay which price for a gallon of milk. Follow the KISS rule, fool, and charge everybody the same price! Alimony judgments are not as hard as the judges would have us believe. Take care of the children, divide the marital assets in an equitable fashion, then cut the poor, unhappy partners loose to continue their lives free of further hassles. Life is too short to waste on a failed relationship.


JUDICIARY DIFFERS WITH REFORM GROUP ON ALIMONY CHANGES

JAN. 22, 2017, 11:05 PM BY MIKE FAHER

BRATTLEBORO — The Vermont Judiciary wants to put the brakes on an alimony overhaul effort led by a Brattleboro businessman.
In a new report, the state Supreme Court’s Family Division Oversight Committee recommends adoption of new guidelines aimed at providing more “predictability and consistency” in the alimony process.

But the committee also argues against adopting any mandatory regulations that might curb the ability of judges to consider unique factors in each alimony dispute.

Guidelines that are too “rigid,” the committee’s Jan. 13 report says, “would be more likely to lead to unjust outcomes than no guidelines at all.”

Rick Fleming, president of Vermont Alimony Reform, said he’s disappointed in the committee’s conclusions and believes the report falls far short of a thorough review of the state’s alimony statute.

“We are grateful that the Legislature has begun the discussion, and we’re hopeful that both the Senate and the House Judiciary committees hold hearings that will go beyond the scope of what was addressed in the report,” Fleming said Friday.

The dispute highlights two very different alimony reform efforts happening simultaneously in Vermont.

On one hand, the court’s Family Division Oversight Committee has been discussing alimony guidelines since 2008, issuing drafts in 2012 and again late last year. The committee seeks to buttress existing guidelines for attorneys and judges while not imposing hard-and-fast rules.

On the other hand, Vermont Alimony Reform is a relatively new group that wants an overhaul of the state’s alimony law. The statute is outdated and puts an unfair long-term burden on payers, reform advocates argue.......

https://vtdigger.org/2017/01/22/judicia ... y-changes/
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Re: Vermont Alimony Reform

Postby Skitz » Thu Jan 26, 2017 3:26 pm

Judiciary, reform group clash on alimony changes

By Mike Faher/VtDigger/The Commons

BRATTLEBORO—The Vermont Judiciary wants to put the brakes on an alimony overhaul effort led by a Brattleboro businessman.

In a new report, the state Supreme Court’s Family Division Oversight Committee recommends adoption of new guidelines aimed at providing more “predictability and consistency” in the alimony process.

But the committee also argues against adopting any mandatory regulations that might curb the ability of judges to consider unique factors in each alimony dispute.

Guidelines that are too “rigid,” the committee’s Jan. 13 report says, “would be more likely to lead to unjust outcomes than no guidelines at all.”

Rick Fleming, president of Vermont Alimony Reform, said he’s “disappointed” in the committee’s conclusions and believes the report falls far short of a thorough review of the state’s alimony statute.

“We are grateful that the Legislature has begun the discussion, and we’re hopeful that both the Senate and the House Judiciary committees hold hearings that will go beyond the scope of what was addressed in the report,” Fleming said.

http://www.commonsnews.org/site/site05/ ... IparFMrJOQ
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Re: Vermont Alimony Reform

Postby Skitz » Mon Feb 06, 2017 11:29 pm

Yes, judges hate alimony reform because it "robs them of their power" to toy with people's lives as they see fit. Which is why we have legislatures to make written laws.

Vermont judges shy away from major alimony reform
January 30, 2017

Judges in the small north-eastern state of Vermont have shied away from major alimony reform, to the disappointment of campaigners.

In a new report, the Family Division Oversight Committee of the state’s Supreme Court recommends new guidelines and procedures on financial settlements and alimony ( normally referred to in the UK as spousal maintenance). The measures would increase “predictability and consistency” they claim, whereas “rigid” regulations could prevent judges from tailoring their rulings to individual circumstances................

http://www.marilynstowe.co.uk/2017/01/3 ... ny-reform/
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Re: Vermont Alimony Reform

Postby Skitz » Tue Feb 07, 2017 11:38 pm

Rick Fleming: Vermont Alimony Reform

Rick Fleming Feb 7, 2017

The men and women of Vermont Alimony Reform brought the issue of antiquated spousal support and maintenance laws to the attention of the Legislature when we testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee last spring.

According to the most recent statistics, about 3.5 of every 1,000 Vermonters are divorced every year. Each year, that means almost 4,300 residents, families, and their small businesses – considered assets by current law – are paying the price for laws in dire need of reform. That means you or someone you know is likely to be affected under the current system. Our testimony resulted in the passage of S52 by the Senate, which would have brought about a comprehensive review of Vermont’s outdated spousal support and maintenance laws and would have included all parties affected by these laws that have been unchanged since in the 1950s. We were encouraged by the quick support that we received from the Senate but due to the lateness of the session, the House Judiciary Committee did not have adequate time to act on the Senate bill.......

http://www.caledonianrecord.com/opinion ... b62e0.html
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Re: Vermont Alimony Reform

Postby Skitz » Fri Feb 17, 2017 5:01 pm

SENATE JUDICIARY TO HOLD PUBLIC HEARING ON ALIMONY REFORM

FEB. 16, 2017, 9:58 PM BY PRESS RELEASE

News Release — General Assembly
Feb 15, 2017

Contact:
Peggy Delaney
Phone: 802-828-2278
Fax: 802-828-2424
E-mail: pdelaney@leg.state.vt.us

The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a public hearing on February 21, 2017, starting at 5:30 pm. The hearing will be held in Room 10 at the State House. Members of the public interested in testifying may sign up to speak at the hearing. Sign up will begin outside the meeting room at 5:00 pm. Each person will be limited to three minutes.

https://vtdigger.org/2017/02/16/senate- ... ny-reform/

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Re: Vermont Alimony Reform

Postby Skitz » Wed Feb 22, 2017 3:23 pm

Should Vermont make changes to laws on alimony?


Updated: Feb 22, 2017 9:31 AM EST
By Priscilla Liguori

MONTPELIER, Vt. -
Vermonters were fired up about how divorces are handled. Residents told senators how alimony arrangements have torn their families apart. Love doesn't always last forever, but with Vermont's current laws, alimony can. Tuesday, people who have been divorced told legislators why they think the state's laws need to change.

Ted Coles is fed up with Vermont's laws on alimony.

"The more she talked to her lawyer, she said, 'I'm going to screw you for everything you're worth,' which she's pretty much done," said Ted Coles, Huntington.

Coles was married for over 20 years and has two sons. Since being divorced, he had two back surgeries and lost his job.....

http://www.wcax.com/story/34563979/shou ... on-alimony
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Re: Vermont Alimony Reform

Postby Skitz » Thu Mar 02, 2017 12:42 am

Group advocates for changes in antiquated alimony laws

We at Vermont Alimony Reform brought the issue of antiquated spousal support and maintenance laws to the attention of the Legislature when we testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee last spring.

According to the most recent statistics, about 3.5 of every 1,000 Vermonters are divorced every year. Each year, that means almost 4,300 residents, families, and their small businesses — considered assets by current law — are paying the price for 1950s-era laws in dire need of reform.

That means you or someone you know is likely to be affected under the current system.

Our testimony resulted in the passage of S.52 by the Senate, which would have brought about a comprehensive review of these laws and would have included all parties affected by them..........

http://www.commonsnews.org/site/site05/ ... Leu42_ytOQ
(click for full text)

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Re: Vermont Alimony Reform

Postby Skitz » Thu Mar 09, 2017 3:18 am

'Til Death Do Us Pay: Legislators Consider Divorcing Alimony Law

By ALICIA FREESE

After 26 years of marriage, Rick Fleming and his wife divorced in the fall of 2009. The court ordered Fleming to send her $2,200 a month — for the rest of his life. Their children are grown, and they've both since remarried and have jobs, but he still has to hand over 40 percent of his income to her.

"Divorce shouldn't be a life sentence," Fleming told a panel of state senators at a public hearing last month.

His crusade for changes to the law — he wants to abolish permanent alimony and limit judges' leeway to determine payments — is gaining momentum in the Vermont Statehouse. On March 1, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted to create a task force to recommend changes to the law.

"We've heard a lot of horror stories," said Sen. Jeanette White (D-Windham), who serves on the committee. "I think it's important to have this task force to look at it."......

http://www.sevendaysvt.com/vermont/til- ... id=4483712
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Re: Vermont Alimony Reform

Postby Skitz » Sun Mar 12, 2017 11:45 pm

Task force may examine alimony reform

Posted Sunday, March 12, 2017 9:00 pm
By Mike Faher, Special to the Reformer

BRATTLEBORO — The state Senate Judiciary Committee is pushing to improve the "clarity, fairness, predictability and consistency" of Vermont's alimony laws.

And that's drawing applause from alimony reform activists led by Brattleboro businessman Rick Fleming.

Vermont Alimony Reform is praising the Judiciary Committee's bill, S.112, which calls for a seven-member task force to examine the alimony statute and make recommendations for legislative changes.

The bill, which has been endorsed by the committee and is scheduled for Senate action Tuesday, seeks a more comprehensive review of the alimony statute than had been undertaken last year by a Supreme Court committee.

Fleming's organization would have a direct role in that study.

"There's momentum building, and we need to build on that," he said.

Vermont Alimony Reform began lobbying the Legislature for changes last year, arguing that the alimony law is outdated and leads to unfair, inconsistent outcomes.

Fleming has been at the forefront of that effort, telling lawmakers that he's been saddled with unmanageable alimony payments even as his business struggled and his income decreased. In 2013, the state Supreme Court ruled against Fleming's effort to lower those payments.

Among other requests, the reform group wants to end indefinite alimony awards; make provisions for payers who want to retire; and terminate a payer's obligations when a former spouse remarries.......

http://www.reformer.com/stories/task-fo ... orm,501058
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Re: Vermont Alimony Reform

Postby Skitz » Tue May 23, 2017 2:11 am

A legislative victory: Alimony reform group scores win

Posted Friday, May 12, 2017 5:51 pm
By Mike Faher , VTDigger

BRATTLEBORO — For some who are lobbying for legislative changes, approval of a bill that creates a task force might not be much to cheer about.

But Rick Fleming sees it as real progress in his years-long push to overhaul Vermont's alimony statute.

The Legislature has approved a bill, S.112, that temporarily imposes new alimony guidelines while also creating an eight-member "spousal support and maintenance task force" that will take a close look at the state's alimony law and how it might be changed.

Fleming, a Brattleboro businessman who leads Vermont Alimony Reform, is particularly happy that his group will have a seat on the task force. As recently as a few weeks ago, it didn't appear that would happen.

"We're hopeful and confident that Gov. (Phil) Scott will sign it, and we look forward to the hard work of reforming alimony in Vermont," Fleming said.

The reform group began meeting in 2015 and started a legislative lobbying effort last year. Vermont Alimony Reform's membership consists of payers who feel they've been treated unfairly. But Fleming believes "there's a misunderstanding as to where we're coming from."

"We're for alimony, where it's appropriate," he said. "But it has to serve a defined purpose."

For example, the group wants to end indefinite alimony; make allowances for a payer's retirement; and, in most cases, end alimony when a recipient remarries.....

http://www.reformer.com/stories/a-legis ... win,507229
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Re: Vermont Alimony Reform

Postby Skitz » Thu Dec 28, 2017 12:41 am

Alimony report misses mark, local group says

Posted Tuesday, December 19, 2017 9:00 pm
By Mike Faher, Brattleboro Reformer/VTDigger
BRATTLEBORO — After several months of study, a task force is recommending no immediate, major changes to Vermont's alimony statute.

But a Brattleboro-based advocacy group is vowing to fight on, saying there are critical issues that the state's Spousal Support and Maintenance Task Force didn't address.

"I think one of the problems was, there really wasn't enough time to do a comprehensive review," said Rick Fleming, a Brattleboro businessman who serves as Vermont Alimony Reform president. "This is an important first step, but there definitely is a lot more work that needs to be done on this issue."

Vermont Alimony Reform consists of payers who say the state's alimony statute is unfair, outdated and allows for too much judicial discretion. They began a push for reform about two years ago, citing recent changes in Massachusetts' alimony law as a potential model.

The reform initiative has bounced around the state Legislature for the past few years.

Lawmakers initially asked the state Supreme Court's Family Division Oversight Committee to examine the alimony statute. The resulting report recommended new alimony guidelines based on income and marriage duration, but the committee warned against enacting "rigid" regulations that could put too much of a damper on judicial discretion.........

http://www.reformer.com/stories/alimony ... ays,527486
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Re: Vermont Alimony Reform

Postby Skitz » Thu Feb 15, 2018 1:09 am

Rick Fleming: The State of Spousal Maintenance Reform in Vermont

BY RICK FLEMING Jan 4, 2018

The Spousal Maintenance Task Force has submitted its report to the Vermont Legislature and there is still much work needed to be done to bring comprehensive reform to Vermont. The Task Force public hearing that was held on Nov. 6, 2017 overwhelmingly showed that there are significant issues with Vermont’s statutes and case law that need to be clearly defined to meet the charge of Act 60, bringing consistency, predictability and fairness to all Vermonters going through the divorce process.

The recommendations by the Task Force are an important first step and their efforts are to be commended in spite of the short period of time to address this important and complex issue. However, additional time and effort is needed by the Legislature during the upcoming Legislative session to make spousal maintenance reform a reality for the Judiciary, lawyers and parties.

What is the definition of spousal maintenance and what is its purpose? Spousal maintenance should be the payment of support from one ex-spouse with the Ability to pay to an ex-spouse in Need of support for a reasonable length of time. This needs to be clearly defined in statute.

Not everyone can afford the expense of a lawyer to represent them when they are going through the divorce process in Vermont. In fact, between 60-70 percent of all divorces do not have representation by a lawyer. Shouldn’t our statues and case law be clear and concise so that those individuals that represent themselves have a clear understanding of what to expect when they begin the divorce process? That is not the case in Vermont today!.......


http://www.caledonianrecord.com/opinion ... ff820.html
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