Alimony Reform Bill Faces Feb. 4th Deadline for Co-Sponsors (Updated 2/4/17)

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Alimony Reform Bill Faces Feb. 4th Deadline for Co-Sponsors (Updated 2/4/17)

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Massachusetts divorce lawyer Jason V. Owens reports on a Feb. 4th deadline for co-sponsors for a new alimony reform bill.

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Attorney Jason V. Owens

Talk about about “no rest for the weary”. After just beating  a January 20, 2017 deadline to file a new alimony reform bill, alimony reform supporters now face a new test: they must find co-sponsors for their new bill in the Massachusetts House and Senate before a February 4, 2017 deadline. The new bill, H 871, was presented in the House on January 17, 2017 by Rep. James M. Cantwell (D-Plymouth) and Rep. Mike Connolly (D-Cambridge), just ahead of the January 20, 2017 deadline.

The new bill replaces a prior version of the bill, H 4427, which was left stranded in the Senate Ways and Means Committee last summer. In a recent email to supporters, Stephen K. Hitner of Massachusetts Alimony Reform, emphasized that the old bill, H 4427, is now “dead”, and that supporters should specifically identify H 871 when contacting House members and Senators about co-sponsoring the bill. He noted, however, that language of H 871 is identical to H 4427, which passed the Massachusetts House in a unanimous 156-0 vote last spring. (At last check, H 871, which can be viewed as a PDF here, has not be uploaded to the legislature’s searchable website for pending bills.)

Hitner told supporters:

In order for a Bill to get traction, it needs “Co-Sponsors”. This session, Senate and House Co-Sponsors can sign on until February 4, 2017.  The Bills are then assigned to a Committee. In the case of our Bill, H 871. it will be assigned to the Joint Committee on the Judiciary. The Committees are required to hold public hearings on the Bill.

First on the agenda, Hitner explained, was gathering co-sponsors in the House and Senate. “If you have not spoken to your Senator or State Representative and gotten a commitment as a Co-Sponsor,” said Hitner, “now is the time to do so.” Co-sponsors are an important part of the legislative process because they signal other House member and Senators that a bill has been vetted by their peers and enjoys support among colleagues with whom they regularly vote. The original Alimony Reform Act (ARA), passed in 2011, received 135 co-sponsors before easily passing in the House and Senate.

The reform effort, dubbed the Alimony Re-Reform Act by supporters, kicked off in 2015, following three controversial decisions by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court that partially limited parts of the ARA to alimony orders entered in 2012 or later.  Like its predecessors, H 871 would amend the ARA to make ARA provisions calling for the reduction or termination of alimony when a payor reaches  retirement age, or a recipient cohabitates with a new partner, applicable to all Massachusetts alimony orders, including those entered before 2012.

UPDATE (1/27/17): As of January 27, 2017, H 871 has the 8 following co-sponsors:

  • James Cantwell
  • Mike Connolly
  • Carolyn Dykema
  • Ryan Fattman
  • Jennifer Flanagan
  • Ann Gobi
  • Bradley Jones
  • Jay Kaufman

UPDATE (2/1/17): As of February 1, 2017, the bill’s 17 co-sponsors are:

James M. Cantwell D) House 4th Plymouth
Mike Connolly (D) House 26th Middlesex
Carolyn C. Dykema D) House 8th Middlesex
Thomas J. Calter (D) House 12th Plymouth
Ryan C. Fattman (R) Senate Worcester and Norfolk
Carole A. Fiola (D) House 6th Bristol
Jennifer L. Flanagan (D) Senate Worcester and Middlesex
Anne M. Gobi (D) Senate Worcester, Hampden, Hampshire and Middlesex
Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R) House 20th Middlesex
Jay R. Kaufman (D) House 15th Middlesex
James M. Kelcourse (R)House 1st Essex
David Paul Linsky (D)House 5th Middlesex
Kevin J. Kuros (R) House 8th Worcester
David K. Muradian, Jr. (R) House 9th Worcester
Shaunna L. O’Connell (R) House 3rd Bristol
Kathleen O’Connor Ives (D) Senate First Essex
Elizabeth A. Poirier (R) House 14th Bristol

UPDATE (2/3/17): As of February 3, 2017 at 1:09 PM EST, the bill’s 29 co-sponsors are:

James M. Cantwell (D) House 4th Plymouth
Mike Connolly (D) House 26th Middlesex
Carolyn C. Dykema (D) House 8th Middlesex
F. Jay Barrows (R) House 1st Bristol
Nicholas A. Boldyga (R) House 3rd Hampden
Thomas J. Calter (D) House 12th Plymouth
Shawn Dooley (R) House 9th Norfolk
Ryan C. Fattman (R) Senate Worcester and Norfolk
Carole A. Fiola (D) House 6th Bristol
Jennifer L. Flanagan (D) Senate Worcester and Middlesex
Anne M. Gobi (D) Senate Worcester, Hampden, Hampshire and Middlesex
James J. Dwyer (D) House 30th Middlesex
Natalie Higgins (D) House 4th Worcester
Kate Hogan (D) House 3rd Middlesex
Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R) House 20th Middlesex
Jay R. Kaufman (D) House 15th Middlesex
James M. Kelcourse (R) House 1st Essex
David Paul Linsky (D) House 5th Middlesex
Joseph W. McGonagle, Jr. (D) House 9th Worcester
Kevin J. Kuros (R) House 8th Worcester
Thomas M. McGee (D) Senate Third Essex
David K. Muradian, Jr. (R) House 9th Worcester
Shaunna L. O’Connell (R) House 3rd Bristol
Patrick M. O’Connor (R) Senate Plymouth and Norfolk
Kathleen O’Connor Ives (D) Senate First Essex
Elizabeth A. Poirier (R) House 14th Bristol
Thomas M. Stanley (D) House 9th Middlesex
David T. Vieira (R) House 3rd Barnstable

UPDATE (2/4/17): The final list of 38 co-sponsors for the bill are:

James M. Cantwell 4th Plymouth
Mike Connolly 26th Middlesex
Carolyn C. Dykema 8th Middlesex
F. Jay Barrows 1st Bristol
Nicholas A. Boldyga 3rd Hampden
Thomas J. Calter 12th Plymouth
Shawn Dooley 9th Norfolk
James J. Dwyer 30th Middlesex
Ryan C. Fattman Worcester and Norfolk
Carole A. Fiola 6th Bristol
Jennifer L. Flanagan Worcester and Middlesex
Sean Garballey 23rd Middlesex
Anne M. Gobi Worcester, Hampden, Hampshire and Middlesex
Danielle W. Gregoire 4th Middlesex
Stephan Hay 3rd Worcester
Natalie Higgins 4th Worcester
Kate Hogan 3rd Middlesex
Bradley H. Jones, Jr. 20th Middlesex
Jay R. Kaufman 15th Middlesex
James M. Kelcourse 1st Essex
Kevin J. Kuros 8th Worcester
David Paul Linsky 5th Middlesex
Joan B. Lovely Second Essex
Paul W. Mark 2nd Berkshire
Thomas M. McGee Third Essex
Joseph W. McGonagle, Jr. 28th Middlesex
Aaron Michlewitz 3rd Suffolk
Michael O. Moore Second Worcester
David K. Muradian, Jr. 9th Worcester
Brian Murray 10th Worcester
Shaunna L. O’Connell 3rd Bristol
Kathleen O’Connor Ives First Essex
Patrick M. O’Connor Plymouth and Norfolk
Elizabeth A. Poirier 14th Bristol
John H. Rogers 12th Norfolk
Jeffrey N. Roy 10th Norfolk
Thomas M. Stanley 9th Middlesex
James E. Timilty Bristol and Norfolk
David T. Vieira 3rd Barnstable

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About the Author: Jason V. Owens is a Massachusetts divorce lawyer and Massachusetts family law attorney for Lynch & Owens, located in Hingham, Massachusetts.

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By | 2017-03-29T11:29:34+00:00 January 26th, 2017|Categories: Alimony, Divorce, News, Updates|Tags: , , , , |Comments Off on Alimony Reform Bill Faces Feb. 4th Deadline for Co-Sponsors (Updated 2/4/17)

About the Author:

Jason V. Owens is a Partner and Senior Counsel at Lynch & Owens, and is a frequent contributor to the Lynch & Owens Blog on subjects including Massachusetts divorce, child custody and support, domestic violence, equity and estates litigation, and complex financial probate and family litigation. Attorney Owens can be reached by phone at (781) 741-5000 or email [email protected], or visit his bio page under https://lynchowens.com/attorneys/.