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The Boston Globe Magazine is advocating for the passage of an alimony reform bill now pending in the Massachusetts House.
The Boston Globe Magazine has a new article up pressing for the passage of the alimony reform legislation now pending in the Massachusetts House. The Globe piece, written by Louise Sloan, reviews the origins of the Alimony Reform Act (ARA) of 2011, along with the three decisions entered by the Supreme Judicial Court in 2015 that affected the ARA. In those decisions, the SJC held that two provisions of the ARA limiting alimony –when a paying spouse reaches federal retirement age or when a receiving spouse cohabitates with a new partner – do not apply to divorces from before 2012.
The piece, which is highly critical of the SJC decisions, includes an interview with Denise Squillante, a family law attorney and former president of the Massachusetts Bar Association who drafted the ARA as part of the state’s Alimony Reform Task Force:
Denise Squillante, a former president of the Massachusetts Bar Association who helped to write the statute, says the alimony revision was in fact intended to apply retroactively. “I was there,” she says. “I know what we meant.”
But because of the SJC rulings, retirement changes nothing and cohabitating ex-spouses who divorced before March 2012 get to treat alimony as the thing no one can put asunder, unless they actually remarry. So at least some of them don’t; call them exes with benefits. It’s a bit droll to see this once Puritan state continuing to reward people for living in sin. But for payors like my partner, it isn’t funny. Worse, Squillante says, “they’re not getting equal protection under the law.”
The article unabashedly argues in favor of passage of the bill now before the House, describing alimony “reform” as such:
Last year, state lawmakers introduced a bill to fix the language, so the law would cover everyone. It passed unanimously in the House but died in the Senate. Now, legislators are trying again to set things right. The current version of the “re-reform” bill, H.740, is with the Joint Committee on the Judiciary, which has a hearing scheduled for May 15.
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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