Alimony Reform bill (H1785) waiting on casino bill battle

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The Massachusetts alimony reform bill (H1785) is for now stuck in committee while key legislators are busy with the casino bill battle.

A compromise alimony reform bill is being worked on in the Alimony Reform Task force.

This is a committee comprised of:

  • Rep. Steven Walsh, the bill’s lead sponsor
  • Rep. John Fernandes
  • Sen. Gale Candaras
  • Steve Hitner, a lead activist for alimony reform
  • Three representatives from the various bar associations
  • A representative of the judiciary

The task force has met several times now, and worked out much of the compromise. The task force is hoping to be able to recommend a compromise bill at their next meeting.

But there is now difficulty in scheduling their next meeting because several of the legislators are busy trying to overcome opposition to the casino bill. It’s likely that a new meeting will be scheduled in the next few weeks.

Public Pressure is Building

Pressure on legislators to deal with the alimony issue this year is intense. The Massachusetts alimony statute is badly out of date. Massachusetts is the only state with lifetime alimony, which continues even after payors retire. And the current law offers no clear guidelines causing headaches for judges and resulting in wildly variable alimony awards.

The current alimony bill has wide legislative support – with over 70 co-sponsors. It has been receiving a lot of positive media attention:

Massachusetts Alimony Reform has a more complete list of the media coverage. And the attention to the issue is not about to go away. Several major new articles and TV news stories are likely to hit in the coming weeks.

At least one key legislator, Senate Judiciary Chairwoman Cynthia Creem, is facing particularly strong pressure. She is not only the committee chairwoman, but a practicing divorce attorney. Some have questioned if her opposition to Alimony Reform isn’t a conflict of interest.

Creem is facing a tough election challenge from Charles Rudnick this year, and if the alimony issue isn’t dealt with it’s likely to come up as a campaign wedge issue. Comments about her position on alimony reform continue to pop up wherever her name is mentioned. ( 1, 2, 3, or try searching “Creem Alimony Reform” )

Everyone in the legislature seems to want this issue dealt with this year. Their fear is if a solid bill doesn’t come out of committee, it will be one more pressing issue the legislature failed to deal with in what is looking like an extremely difficult electoral climate for incumbents.

Alimony Reform Task Force Status

The members of the task force essentially line up in several camps.

The Judiciary wants to see a bill come out that has clear and fair guidelines – like we have for child support. The courts are overworked, especially after suffering several rounds of budget cuts, and alimony actions are 30% of the caseload. The cases are difficult, and without clear guidelines judges are commonly criticized by all parties to an alimony case  – both by payors and recipients.

The only party strongly opposed to clear guidelines are the various bar associations. The lack of clear guidelines results in large legal bills for litigants. The problem for them on the task force is that since they are practicing attorneys they have a hard time disagreeing with judges who appear to testify before the committee. The last thing any practicing lawyer wants is to appear before a judge they have publicly disagreed with. To some extent the bar association representatives have had to moderate their position.

Legislators are eager to get a good bill out. They want something most legislators can agree on, and get past the alimony reform issue before the elections. The last thing they want is to be seen to be protecting legal industry profits at the expense of the public.

For alimony reform advocates the main issue is the lack of clear guidelines. Without them litigants don’t know what to expect. Awards can be inappropriately high or rare cases low.

Hopefully this year Massachusetts can join the rest of the nation in having a rational alimony statute, and stop the abuse of the public’s judicial system by the legal industry.

47 Comments

  • Emmett
    June 30, 2010 - 1:32 am | Permalink

    Let’s hope that enough legislators are feeling the heat and pressure for alimony reform that 2010 is the year that we get it. The chances of injustice under current rules are too high. For example, having to pay alimony for a period of time that exceeds the length of the marriage is indefensible. Someone married ten years could wind up paying alimony for 30 or 40 years! That’s absurd. Let’s hope that time limits are established that will prevent this.

    It’s equally indefensible to allow judges to count the income of a new spouse in calculating one’s ability to pay alimony. That forces someone to help support their new spouse’s ex-spouse. That’s justice?

    Many people may think that since they’re not divorced or not paying alimony, this isn’t an issue relevant to their lives. But a large percentage of marriages end in divorce, so if you’re married, there’s no guarantee that divorce isn’t in your future. And you may have a relative, such as a son or daughter, who could be victimized by these archaic, deeply flawed laws.

    If the legislature still hasn’t passed alimony reform by the time election day rolls around, I hope that we can defeat many of those incumbents who are delaying or preventing it.

  • Emmett
    June 29, 2010 - 9:32 pm | Permalink

    Let’s hope that enough legislators are feeling the heat and pressure for alimony reform that 2010 is the year that we get it. The chances of injustice under current rules are too high. For example, having to pay alimony for a period of time that exceeds the length of the marriage is indefensible. Someone married ten years could wind up paying alimony for 30 or 40 years! That’s absurd. Let’s hope that time limits are established that will prevent this.

    It’s equally indefensible to allow judges to count the income of a new spouse in calculating one’s ability to pay alimony. That forces someone to help support their new spouse’s ex-spouse. That’s justice?

    Many people may think that since they’re not divorced or not paying alimony, this isn’t an issue relevant to their lives. But a large percentage of marriages end in divorce, so if you’re married, there’s no guarantee that divorce isn’t in your future. And you may have a relative, such as a son or daughter, who could be victimized by these archaic, deeply flawed laws.

    If the legislature still hasn’t passed alimony reform by the time election day rolls around, I hope that we can defeat many of those incumbents who are delaying or preventing it.

  • bill horrigan
    June 30, 2010 - 11:32 am | Permalink

    What in life is “Forever”? Are you kidding me! These laws need attention & change desperately.
    Mass is so far out of line with the rest of the country regarding “Alimony” that now is the time for change. Everyone should know what they are in for should they have to go through a divorce. 50% + of all marriages end in divorce.
    This would lighten the burden orf time for the courts and the substancially reduce legal costs for litagants.
    “Come on Massachusetts its time for this change” Get this bill passed now!

  • bill horrigan
    June 30, 2010 - 7:32 am | Permalink

    What in life is “Forever”? Are you kidding me! These laws need attention & change desperately.
    Mass is so far out of line with the rest of the country regarding “Alimony” that now is the time for change. Everyone should know what they are in for should they have to go through a divorce. 50% + of all marriages end in divorce.
    This would lighten the burden orf time for the courts and the substancially reduce legal costs for litagants.
    “Come on Massachusetts its time for this change” Get this bill passed now!

  • Arela
    July 7, 2010 - 4:32 pm | Permalink

    Make no mistake. The current “alimony for life” statute in Massachusetts is for the benefit of billable hours for divorce attorneys. With over 70 co-sponsors supporting the need for alimony reform (which includes duration and the ability to retire for payors) it is clear that something must be done in this legislative session. The citizens of Massachusetts are suffering, as “legal extortion” continues . . . politicians need to hear the message and make the change that is long overdue. The “dirty secret” is out and will not go away. Alimony payors have no rights in Mass. Modification is rare. Recepients are never encouraged to become self-sufficient. “Entitlement” is the motto of Massachusetts. Great message being sent to future generations. Pathetic. Elections are coming soon. The citizens in Massachusetts are watching their elected reps and senators closely.

  • Arela
    July 7, 2010 - 12:32 pm | Permalink

    Make no mistake. The current “alimony for life” statute in Massachusetts is for the benefit of billable hours for divorce attorneys. With over 70 co-sponsors supporting the need for alimony reform (which includes duration and the ability to retire for payors) it is clear that something must be done in this legislative session. The citizens of Massachusetts are suffering, as “legal extortion” continues . . . politicians need to hear the message and make the change that is long overdue. The “dirty secret” is out and will not go away. Alimony payors have no rights in Mass. Modification is rare. Recepients are never encouraged to become self-sufficient. “Entitlement” is the motto of Massachusetts. Great message being sent to future generations. Pathetic. Elections are coming soon. The citizens in Massachusetts are watching their elected reps and senators closely.

  • Steve
    July 7, 2010 - 6:03 pm | Permalink

    In 2010, there shouldn’t be any alimony awarded in divorces except for a small number of extreme corner cases, where the recipient has no chance of being self supporting… such as very old age, documented, valid, and proven mental or physical disabilities that make employment basically impossible. There are too many abusers (low life ethically challenged lawyers, and lazy greedy do nothing recipients) that have no morals, and will abuse the current outdated and unfair alimony law. H1785 is the only option currently available to stop the abuse. The MA alimony law needs to be changed NOW ! Other states including NY and FL are or have recently changing their divorce and alimony laws. There is no reason why MA cannot follow and do whats right for the MA citizens. Since alimony hits many people (payors) directly in the wallet, this issue is on the top of their radar screen, and they are watching very closely. Any and all politicians who try to either block or delay the passage of H1785 are in for a rude awakening come election time for sure.

  • Steve
    July 7, 2010 - 2:03 pm | Permalink

    In 2010, there shouldn’t be any alimony awarded in divorces except for a small number of extreme corner cases, where the recipient has no chance of being self supporting… such as very old age, documented, valid, and proven mental or physical disabilities that make employment basically impossible. There are too many abusers (low life ethically challenged lawyers, and lazy greedy do nothing recipients) that have no morals, and will abuse the current outdated and unfair alimony law. H1785 is the only option currently available to stop the abuse. The MA alimony law needs to be changed NOW ! Other states including NY and FL are or have recently changing their divorce and alimony laws. There is no reason why MA cannot follow and do whats right for the MA citizens. Since alimony hits many people (payors) directly in the wallet, this issue is on the top of their radar screen, and they are watching very closely. Any and all politicians who try to either block or delay the passage of H1785 are in for a rude awakening come election time for sure.

  • Kimberly
    July 7, 2010 - 6:15 pm | Permalink

    As Arela stated, the current statute of “alimony for life” only benefits the financial bottom line of the lawyers. But, it is also making the Payer an Indentured Servant to his or her Ex for life! The recipient then feels that they are in some way Entitled to the lifetime Alimony and will never become self-sufficient. For that matter, why should they? We have tougher laws for Welfare. Why?

    I am engaged to a man who is paying his Ex-wife Alimony. She will never remarry and has no intention of moving on with her life. As of last week, the Ex now wants to change the Alimony to all Child Support so that she does not have to pay the taxes on the Alimony (Child Support is not taxable). My boyfriend pays a very large amount every month to a woman who feels that the IRS is not her responsibility. Where is the Justice in that????!!!

    Oh and lets also mention that under the present laws in Massachusetts, if my boyfriend and I were to wed, my new husband’s “household income” will be increased by my salary. Meaning, my salary would then be allowed in court as additional income for my then husband. At that time, his Ex can take him back to court for more Alimony/Child Support on the basis that his “household income” has increased. -This is pure insanity!

    Indentured Servants for life and never allowed to move on. Yes, elections are coming soon. Massachusetts needs to make a change and bring the courts into the year 2010! The people of Massachusetts need to speak out and reform the current laws. Remember, divorce happens in 50% of all marriages. –Who are you protecting by NOT changing these archaic laws?

  • Kimberly
    July 7, 2010 - 2:15 pm | Permalink

    As Arela stated, the current statute of “alimony for life” only benefits the financial bottom line of the lawyers. But, it is also making the Payer an Indentured Servant to his or her Ex for life! The recipient then feels that they are in some way Entitled to the lifetime Alimony and will never become self-sufficient. For that matter, why should they? We have tougher laws for Welfare. Why?

    I am engaged to a man who is paying his Ex-wife Alimony. She will never remarry and has no intention of moving on with her life. As of last week, the Ex now wants to change the Alimony to all Child Support so that she does not have to pay the taxes on the Alimony (Child Support is not taxable). My boyfriend pays a very large amount every month to a woman who feels that the IRS is not her responsibility. Where is the Justice in that????!!!

    Oh and lets also mention that under the present laws in Massachusetts, if my boyfriend and I were to wed, my new husband’s “household income” will be increased by my salary. Meaning, my salary would then be allowed in court as additional income for my then husband. At that time, his Ex can take him back to court for more Alimony/Child Support on the basis that his “household income” has increased. -This is pure insanity!

    Indentured Servants for life and never allowed to move on. Yes, elections are coming soon. Massachusetts needs to make a change and bring the courts into the year 2010! The people of Massachusetts need to speak out and reform the current laws. Remember, divorce happens in 50% of all marriages. –Who are you protecting by NOT changing these archaic laws?

  • Peggy
    July 8, 2010 - 1:03 am | Permalink

    My husband recently went to court to have his child support stopped because his youngest became emanicated. She recently graduated from college. On his court day his ex felt that she was “entitled” to having the alimony increased. She worked throughout the whole marriage when they were married and continues to work. She recently received an inheritance. I just don’t see where this is fair. We are now told that we are at the mercy of the judges as to the dollar amount and it could be for life. When we read the divorce agreement we had it did not mention that alimony was for life and my income would also be included. But our lawyer told us that we only had a copy of a prospose. We are both middle – to low income people who are getting that much closer to retirement and I just don’t see the fairness of this lifetime alimony. I also was divorced and I would not of put this burden on my ex-husband. I would want to be self – sufficient. We all make choices in life and this “entitlement” feeling is just wrong. I might also add that in the divorce agreement she was awarded the house. We both hope that this unfairness of the alimony laws are changed and it can’t come soon enough for us.
    thanks

  • Peggy
    July 7, 2010 - 9:03 pm | Permalink

    My husband recently went to court to have his child support stopped because his youngest became emanicated. She recently graduated from college. On his court day his ex felt that she was “entitled” to having the alimony increased. She worked throughout the whole marriage when they were married and continues to work. She recently received an inheritance. I just don’t see where this is fair. We are now told that we are at the mercy of the judges as to the dollar amount and it could be for life. When we read the divorce agreement we had it did not mention that alimony was for life and my income would also be included. But our lawyer told us that we only had a copy of a prospose. We are both middle – to low income people who are getting that much closer to retirement and I just don’t see the fairness of this lifetime alimony. I also was divorced and I would not of put this burden on my ex-husband. I would want to be self – sufficient. We all make choices in life and this “entitlement” feeling is just wrong. I might also add that in the divorce agreement she was awarded the house. We both hope that this unfairness of the alimony laws are changed and it can’t come soon enough for us.
    thanks

  • Jason
    July 8, 2010 - 10:53 am | Permalink

    This bill needs to pass. Alimony for life and this sense of entitlement must go.

    I have to laugh at this: “The Judiciary wants to see a bill come out that has clear and fair guidelines – like we have for child support.”

    There is NOTHING fair about the child support guidelines! They are the next thing that needs to change!

  • Jason
    July 8, 2010 - 6:53 am | Permalink

    This bill needs to pass. Alimony for life and this sense of entitlement must go.

    I have to laugh at this: “The Judiciary wants to see a bill come out that has clear and fair guidelines – like we have for child support.”

    There is NOTHING fair about the child support guidelines! They are the next thing that needs to change!

  • TPR
    July 8, 2010 - 4:04 pm | Permalink

    Is there any further word on this? The system is hopelessly broken – I went before two different judges on a modification – one for conference and one for trial. The one at conference said alimony was inappropriate in my case and wanted to take it away. The one at trial didn’t think much of it either, but said she had no authority to take it away.

    The lawyers can’t even tell you what is likely to happen (or even the range of possibilities). They only thing they can say with any degree of certainty is their hourly rate.

    If this doesn’t get out of committee, will there be a movement to hold our elected officials responsible? Particularly Senator Creem?

  • TPR
    July 8, 2010 - 12:04 pm | Permalink

    Is there any further word on this? The system is hopelessly broken – I went before two different judges on a modification – one for conference and one for trial. The one at conference said alimony was inappropriate in my case and wanted to take it away. The one at trial didn’t think much of it either, but said she had no authority to take it away.

    The lawyers can’t even tell you what is likely to happen (or even the range of possibilities). They only thing they can say with any degree of certainty is their hourly rate.

    If this doesn’t get out of committee, will there be a movement to hold our elected officials responsible? Particularly Senator Creem?

  • TPR
    July 8, 2010 - 4:53 pm | Permalink

    Also, where is Rep. O’Flaherty on this issue now? Is he likely to block it?

  • TPR
    July 8, 2010 - 12:53 pm | Permalink

    Also, where is Rep. O’Flaherty on this issue now? Is he likely to block it?

  • Mike
    July 8, 2010 - 6:21 pm | Permalink

    I certainly will not be voting for any incumbents in the future the legislature is corrupt to the core with the influence of these various Bar Associations and other lobbyist. Next election cycle we all in the alimony reform group and just citizens need to investigate if the candidate you are looking at voting for has received campaign donations from one of these groups. The Bar Associations have declared war on the citizens of Massachusetts we as citizens need to vote accordingly as well as fight back; these groups number one priority is to keep the money flowing into their coffers we need to make sure they have our interest in mind not their own selfish greed!
    While these legislators are pondering how to get more cash to spend and ignoring alimony reform is outrageous seems our legislature can only handle one thing at a time mono management simply incompetent. How some law group or civil rights group hasn’t taken this cause based on the State and Federal Constitution says it all it not popular within the law profession to fix the alimony laws that clearly violate the State and Federal Constitution is note worthy.
    In the last few years I’ve heard so many times I cannot count how the laws regarding illegal’s and terrorist are Unconstitutional it sickens me every time not to say I agree or disagree with the other problems in these area’s so please don’t go there, but here we have millions or American Citizens force into slavery and nobody will help. The law purports in all practicality that my ex-wife owns a portion of my career and my labor for the rest of my life what about this is constitutional? How about this one or any of these bar association answer this question should a spouse own somebody’s career or labor for the rest of their life and under what conditions? What the purpose for lifetime alimony? The state says they can collect alimony and enforce it with incarceration with the States police powers question do these police powers extend beyond the Constitution? Well I’ve vented enough for now see all love ya…..

    • Steve
      July 9, 2010 - 6:26 pm | Permalink

      It seems MA legislators and other MA politicians have completely forgotten they were voted into office “BY THE PEOPLE, FOR THE PEOPLE”, not “BY THEMSELVES, FOR THEMSELVES”. However, those politicians who have forgotten, will be quickly reminded… soon.

  • Mike
    July 8, 2010 - 2:21 pm | Permalink

    I certainly will not be voting for any incumbents in the future the legislature is corrupt to the core with the influence of these various Bar Associations and other lobbyist. Next election cycle we all in the alimony reform group and just citizens need to investigate if the candidate you are looking at voting for has received campaign donations from one of these groups. The Bar Associations have declared war on the citizens of Massachusetts we as citizens need to vote accordingly as well as fight back; these groups number one priority is to keep the money flowing into their coffers we need to make sure they have our interest in mind not their own selfish greed!
    While these legislators are pondering how to get more cash to spend and ignoring alimony reform is outrageous seems our legislature can only handle one thing at a time mono management simply incompetent. How some law group or civil rights group hasn’t taken this cause based on the State and Federal Constitution says it all it not popular within the law profession to fix the alimony laws that clearly violate the State and Federal Constitution is note worthy.
    In the last few years I’ve heard so many times I cannot count how the laws regarding illegal’s and terrorist are Unconstitutional it sickens me every time not to say I agree or disagree with the other problems in these area’s so please don’t go there, but here we have millions or American Citizens force into slavery and nobody will help. The law purports in all practicality that my ex-wife owns a portion of my career and my labor for the rest of my life what about this is constitutional? How about this one or any of these bar association answer this question should a spouse own somebody’s career or labor for the rest of their life and under what conditions? What the purpose for lifetime alimony? The state says they can collect alimony and enforce it with incarceration with the States police powers question do these police powers extend beyond the Constitution? Well I’ve vented enough for now see all love ya…..

    • Steve
      July 9, 2010 - 2:26 pm | Permalink

      It seems MA legislators and other MA politicians have completely forgotten they were voted into office “BY THE PEOPLE, FOR THE PEOPLE”, not “BY THEMSELVES, FOR THEMSELVES”. However, those politicians who have forgotten, will be quickly reminded… soon.

  • Mike
    July 12, 2010 - 11:19 am | Permalink

    where is the ACLU with alimony? Seriously are they that busy fighting for the terrorist and criminals that they don’t have time to fight for an America Citizen being force into labor with the Jack Booted thugs that will come and get you for losing your job or fall on hard times? Where are all the Lawyers who swear they fight for us? Hello……………. anybody out there?

  • Mike
    July 12, 2010 - 7:19 am | Permalink

    where is the ACLU with alimony? Seriously are they that busy fighting for the terrorist and criminals that they don’t have time to fight for an America Citizen being force into labor with the Jack Booted thugs that will come and get you for losing your job or fall on hard times? Where are all the Lawyers who swear they fight for us? Hello……………. anybody out there?

  • Tom
    July 12, 2010 - 12:09 pm | Permalink

    I pay alimony to my exwife. The alimony court order states that I am to pay alimony weekly for 10 years and six months. My alimony sentence is up on December 22 of this year. I learned earlier this year, from the accountant preparing my taxes, that alimony is a lifetime deal for the recipient in Mass. I was shocked to learn this. My attorney lead me to believe that once my 10 year and six month sentence had been served, I would be a free man. Why did my lawyer mislead me??
    My exwife works. She has lived with her boyfriend for 13 years. He owns his own business repairing and installing computers. Our youngest son (28 years old) also lives with them. He pays weekly rent to my exwife. I was laid-off from my job of 30 years, over one year ago. My wife works. She is a secretary. I collect unemployment. The savings are almost gone. So is the unemployment. My “lawyer” told me that if I tried to bring my exwife into court for a modification, I could end up paying more since my wifes income is factored in. My exwifes boyfriends income, or our sons income is not factored in with my exwifes. Sickening isn’t it?
    We do not need laws that protect and enhance lawyers incomes and practices. Lawyers are not an endangered species requiring protection. The citizens of this state are the ones who need protection.
    Mass Alimony Reform needs to be voted on now!! Let the corporate executives who own the casinos sit on their hands awhile longer. The casino bill should not over shadow a bill, in it’s importance, that liberates human beings.

  • Tom
    July 12, 2010 - 8:09 am | Permalink

    I pay alimony to my exwife. The alimony court order states that I am to pay alimony weekly for 10 years and six months. My alimony sentence is up on December 22 of this year. I learned earlier this year, from the accountant preparing my taxes, that alimony is a lifetime deal for the recipient in Mass. I was shocked to learn this. My attorney lead me to believe that once my 10 year and six month sentence had been served, I would be a free man. Why did my lawyer mislead me??
    My exwife works. She has lived with her boyfriend for 13 years. He owns his own business repairing and installing computers. Our youngest son (28 years old) also lives with them. He pays weekly rent to my exwife. I was laid-off from my job of 30 years, over one year ago. My wife works. She is a secretary. I collect unemployment. The savings are almost gone. So is the unemployment. My “lawyer” told me that if I tried to bring my exwife into court for a modification, I could end up paying more since my wifes income is factored in. My exwifes boyfriends income, or our sons income is not factored in with my exwifes. Sickening isn’t it?
    We do not need laws that protect and enhance lawyers incomes and practices. Lawyers are not an endangered species requiring protection. The citizens of this state are the ones who need protection.
    Mass Alimony Reform needs to be voted on now!! Let the corporate executives who own the casinos sit on their hands awhile longer. The casino bill should not over shadow a bill, in it’s importance, that liberates human beings.

  • Boulderco
    July 13, 2010 - 10:04 pm | Permalink

    Hold on a minute. This article states that “Massachusetts is the only state with lifetime alimony, which continues even after payors retire.” WRONG! Colorado, Oregon and Florida all still order lifetime alimony. Colorado, especially, is just as bad as Massachusetts, if not worse.

    With that said, ALL of these states are guilty of pandering to their lawyer-dominated legislatures. The ONLY reason for lifetime alimony in this day and age is to ensure a lifetime supply of people hiring lawyers to ask for modifications when they lose their jobs or their spouse makes more money. It is a broken system that abuses EVERYONE in it, EXCEPT the lawyers who run it. Your Senator Creem needs to be REMOVED from office for an OBVIOUS conflict of interest in that she is a “Family Law” attorney and has absolutely transmitted her feelings that the alimony laws should remain for the benefit of the lawyers, not the people sucked into the system. She should be ashamed of herself, but the voters in her district should be MORE ashamed for voting her in…what’s wrong with you people?

    • Steve
      July 14, 2010 - 12:47 am | Permalink

      Well said Boulderco, I guess there are not enough people in her district that have been divorced, and sentenced to lifetime alimony prison. I suspect if many were, she wouldn’t have lasted in office this long, for sure.

  • Boulderco
    July 13, 2010 - 6:04 pm | Permalink

    Hold on a minute. This article states that “Massachusetts is the only state with lifetime alimony, which continues even after payors retire.” WRONG! Colorado, Oregon and Florida all still order lifetime alimony. Colorado, especially, is just as bad as Massachusetts, if not worse.

    With that said, ALL of these states are guilty of pandering to their lawyer-dominated legislatures. The ONLY reason for lifetime alimony in this day and age is to ensure a lifetime supply of people hiring lawyers to ask for modifications when they lose their jobs or their spouse makes more money. It is a broken system that abuses EVERYONE in it, EXCEPT the lawyers who run it. Your Senator Creem needs to be REMOVED from office for an OBVIOUS conflict of interest in that she is a “Family Law” attorney and has absolutely transmitted her feelings that the alimony laws should remain for the benefit of the lawyers, not the people sucked into the system. She should be ashamed of herself, but the voters in her district should be MORE ashamed for voting her in…what’s wrong with you people?

    • Steve
      July 13, 2010 - 8:47 pm | Permalink

      Well said Boulderco, I guess there are not enough people in her district that have been divorced, and sentenced to lifetime alimony prison. I suspect if many were, she wouldn’t have lasted in office this long, for sure.

  • Tom
    July 15, 2010 - 2:51 am | Permalink

    The “compromise” will still have lifetime alimony if the marriage is 20+ years. What a crock. State-sanctioned extortion is what it is.

  • Tom
    July 14, 2010 - 10:51 pm | Permalink

    The “compromise” will still have lifetime alimony if the marriage is 20+ years. What a crock. State-sanctioned extortion is what it is.

  • Cathy
    July 15, 2010 - 4:38 pm | Permalink

    Does anyone know how to get information related to how the current task force is doing? Is it possible change won’t be enected in 2010 even though HB1785 has over 70 co-sponsors?

    • July 15, 2010 - 5:28 pm | Permalink

      The task force needs to meet at least one more time. That meeting is tentatively scheduled for July 20th. The legislative session ends July 31st. So it is really getting down to the wire.

      It is possible that opponents of the bill will be able to cause the delays necessary to prevent action on this bill this year.

      If that happens – don’t take any excuses – start working on elections. If Alimony Reform doesn’t pass this year – we need to make sure that key opponents of Alimony Reform – and you know who they are – don’t come back next year.

  • Cathy
    July 15, 2010 - 12:38 pm | Permalink

    Does anyone know how to get information related to how the current task force is doing? Is it possible change won’t be enected in 2010 even though HB1785 has over 70 co-sponsors?

    • July 15, 2010 - 1:28 pm | Permalink

      The task force needs to meet at least one more time. That meeting is tentatively scheduled for July 20th. The legislative session ends July 31st. So it is really getting down to the wire.

      It is possible that opponents of the bill will be able to cause the delays necessary to prevent action on this bill this year.

      If that happens – don’t take any excuses – start working on elections. If Alimony Reform doesn’t pass this year – we need to make sure that key opponents of Alimony Reform – and you know who they are – don’t come back next year.

  • Mike
    July 15, 2010 - 5:06 pm | Permalink

    Let us all remember come Election Day what America has become with the current breed of Legislators ONE COMPLETE MESS! Over spending over reaching legislators. We all must consider what the next legislature should look like, do we want the same washed up lawyers that we have now or hard working men and women who will pass laws that are fair and constitutional. Our judicial system is broken because the same law groups and attorneys put these judges in positions, how convenient; I would bet all businesses would love to install their own judges to help their position in the market place this is what has happed. Some examples Health Care in America is broken because of the lack of Tort reform again bet you most civil attorneys don’t want to see Tort reform so what to do, we’ll get your legislative cronies to stop Tort reform. So from budgets, health care, alimony reform these will never see the light of day until we get rid of these legislators that flaunt their power and put there middle finger up to the America voters. Let’s stop this next election cycle. One other thing I have suggested a long time ago, until the people are marching in the streets the current legislative misconduct will continue. Let’s peacefully rise together as Americans and take our country back before it’s too late.

  • Mike
    July 15, 2010 - 1:06 pm | Permalink

    Let us all remember come Election Day what America has become with the current breed of Legislators ONE COMPLETE MESS! Over spending over reaching legislators. We all must consider what the next legislature should look like, do we want the same washed up lawyers that we have now or hard working men and women who will pass laws that are fair and constitutional. Our judicial system is broken because the same law groups and attorneys put these judges in positions, how convenient; I would bet all businesses would love to install their own judges to help their position in the market place this is what has happed. Some examples Health Care in America is broken because of the lack of Tort reform again bet you most civil attorneys don’t want to see Tort reform so what to do, we’ll get your legislative cronies to stop Tort reform. So from budgets, health care, alimony reform these will never see the light of day until we get rid of these legislators that flaunt their power and put there middle finger up to the America voters. Let’s stop this next election cycle. One other thing I have suggested a long time ago, until the people are marching in the streets the current legislative misconduct will continue. Let’s peacefully rise together as Americans and take our country back before it’s too late.

  • Cathy
    July 15, 2010 - 10:38 pm | Permalink

    Actually, I don’t know who the key opponents are (other than Divorce Lawyers). Where can I learn more about the elected officials that are trying to block/postpone this?

    • July 16, 2010 - 8:36 pm | Permalink

      The key opponents of this are the various divorce lawyer’s lobbies: the academy of matrimonial attorneys, the women’s bar, the mass bar, and the boston bar.

      In the legislature this bill has only one key opponent: Sen. Cynthia Creem. The bill has 70 co-sponsors. It would pass easily if it could get out of committee. But for several years now, Creem as head of the committee has managed to block it. Not surprising since her main job is as a busy divorce lawyer.

      Luckily this year Creem there is a really strong candidate running against Creem – Charles Rudnick. They are polling about even right now – which is a really strong showing for a challenger.

      If you want to see this law changed get involved in the race between Creem and Rudnick in Brookline and Newton.

  • Cathy
    July 15, 2010 - 6:38 pm | Permalink

    Actually, I don’t know who the key opponents are (other than Divorce Lawyers). Where can I learn more about the elected officials that are trying to block/postpone this?

    • July 16, 2010 - 4:36 pm | Permalink

      The key opponents of this are the various divorce lawyer’s lobbies: the academy of matrimonial attorneys, the women’s bar, the mass bar, and the boston bar.

      In the legislature this bill has only one key opponent: Sen. Cynthia Creem. The bill has 70 co-sponsors. It would pass easily if it could get out of committee. But for several years now, Creem as head of the committee has managed to block it. Not surprising since her main job is as a busy divorce lawyer.

      Luckily this year Creem there is a really strong candidate running against Creem – Charles Rudnick. They are polling about even right now – which is a really strong showing for a challenger.

      If you want to see this law changed get involved in the race between Creem and Rudnick in Brookline and Newton.

  • Deb
    July 16, 2010 - 8:23 pm | Permalink

    My husband pays lifetime alimony to his ex. When he was going through the divorce process and told about the lifetime alimony, he asked questions about his responsibilities if he became unemployed or disabled or was laid off or retired. His lawyer told him oh, no problem you can always get a modification. My husband was out of work for 9 months. He contacted a different lawyer because the first one did such a terrible job of representing him (I guess she forgot that that’s what he was paying her to do). The new lawyer said the he could go for a modification but the back up in the courts was about 3 months and by the time he got to court he might have a job, and if that were the case, then he might end up having to pay more if he were making more. Is this sound advice? The man is getting $500 a week in unemployment and $1000 a month goes to alimony. Is is supposed to go bankrupt because he can’t pay his bills or is he supposed to go to jail for non-payment of alimony? His wife works and makes around $60,000 a year but she is just crazy enough to have him arrested because she would rather see him in jail than go without her precious alimony. SOMETHING IS WRONG WITH THIS!

  • Deb
    July 16, 2010 - 4:23 pm | Permalink

    My husband pays lifetime alimony to his ex. When he was going through the divorce process and told about the lifetime alimony, he asked questions about his responsibilities if he became unemployed or disabled or was laid off or retired. His lawyer told him oh, no problem you can always get a modification. My husband was out of work for 9 months. He contacted a different lawyer because the first one did such a terrible job of representing him (I guess she forgot that that’s what he was paying her to do). The new lawyer said the he could go for a modification but the back up in the courts was about 3 months and by the time he got to court he might have a job, and if that were the case, then he might end up having to pay more if he were making more. Is this sound advice? The man is getting $500 a week in unemployment and $1000 a month goes to alimony. Is is supposed to go bankrupt because he can’t pay his bills or is he supposed to go to jail for non-payment of alimony? His wife works and makes around $60,000 a year but she is just crazy enough to have him arrested because she would rather see him in jail than go without her precious alimony. SOMETHING IS WRONG WITH THIS!

  • cathy
    July 21, 2010 - 11:49 am | Permalink

    Has anyone heard if the task force met yesterday, and if so, if they made any progress?

  • cathy
    July 21, 2010 - 7:49 am | Permalink

    Has anyone heard if the task force met yesterday, and if so, if they made any progress?

  • Bbeautifulsunset
    August 29, 2010 - 2:58 pm | Permalink

    Working from 15 1/2 til marriage at 32 I worked. My x insisted I stay home with our children. I am a worker. I grew up poor and started buying clothes at 13 when I baby sat for neighbors. I had no hobbies etc. So, working made me feel good. Because of some strong arming I stayed home. After 20 years of marriage and staying home he dumped me. I not only took care ofthe kids for 20 years, basically on my own with very little help from him. While he coached 2-3 baseball/softball teams and on the committees. I helped him out when he started a business. He dumped me. He said go back to work. Who will hire u your too old. You have been out of work 20 years. In 20 years things changed a lot. I was able to get a job but for next to nothing. Not enough for the basic necessities. The court, I believe added what we both made at the time of the divorce and split it and awarded me enough to live on without any frills. Because he had a decent job and my earning capacity was no where near what his was and because we were married 20 years. I continue to work but again would not be able to keep a roof over my head without the alimony. In our divorce I did’nt ask for any of his overtime or bonus money. I did not ask for my alimony to increase when he got raises. I just wanted to live without being in fear of losing the roof over my head. I have but a high school education. I couldn’t afford to go to college. I am unable to get financial help for anything because I chose to work. All sorts of people not only get the basic necessities they get child care, cars, cell phones, free education, stipends for going to school etc off the tax payer etc etc. But, people think I should not continue to get my alimony. Let me tell you something. I am not a government employee who makes more per hour then my counterpart in the real world, I am not a government employee who has a huge pension when I retire. I am close to retirement age now. Because I was not allowed to work outside of the home my social security is not enough to pay my utilities in the winter. Is not enough to pay rent for a one bedroom apartment. Now the state who gives my hard earned dollars to criminals, drug addicts and people on welfare wants to cut or stop my alimony????? What is wrong with this picture???? If someone is married for a long period of time and their spouse man or woman stays home they should be able to get alimony. Most companies don’t have pensions. If you are unable to make enough money for the basic necessities YES YES YES alimony should be a lifetime deal.

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