Massachusetts divorce lawyer Jason V. Owens reports on a new alimony reform bill filed in the MA House before a January 20, 2017 deadline.
Last week, we reported that alimony reform advocates faced a January 20, 2017 deadline for filing a new bill in the Massachusetts House. We learned yesterday that House Bill H 871 was filed by co-sponsors Rep. James M. Cantwell (D-Plymouth) and Rep. Mike Connolly (D-Cambridge) ahead of the January 20, 2017 deadline.
We are told that the language of H 871 will be identical to H 4427 (“An Act Reforming Alimony in the Commonwealth”), which passed the Massachusetts House by a unanimous 156-0 vote last summer. The new bill seeks to extend provisions of the 2011 Alimony Reform Act to alimony orders that entered before 2012, including provisions for the termination of alimony when a paying spouse reaches federal retirement age and the reduction or elimination of alimony when a receiving spouse begins cohabitating with a new partner. The original ARA passed with 135 co-sponsors in the Massachusetts House and Senate in 2011.
In an email to supporters following the introduction of the new bill, Stephen K. Hitner of Massachusetts Alimony Reform said:
Our goal is to get as many co-sponsors as we can before. The Bill H 871 is the same bill (H4427) that was introduced last year. …. If you have not spoken to your Senator or State Representative and gotten a commitment as a Co-Sponsor, now is the time to do so. We got 135 when the ARA of 2011 was passed, we can almost guarantee passage if we get 135 Co-Sponsors again. The best way to get this job done is for you to arrange a meeting with your Senator and Representative.
It is unclear if the new bill will face serious opposition in the Massachusetts Senate. After unanimously passing the House last summer, the bill became caught in a legislative logjam in the Senate, and the legislative session ended in July without a vote being held in the Senate. The bill appeared to garner significant support among individual senators prior to November’s election, but with a new legislative session, the bill had to be refiled in the house before a January 20, 2017 deadline.
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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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