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Friday, May 27, 2011

Update on the Alimony Reform Act of 2011: The Winds of Change

On May 18, 2011, a public hearing took place at the Massachusetts State House before the Joint Committee on the Judiciary. The bills that garnered the most attention involved human trafficking, redefining joint custody, and the Massachusetts Alimony Reform Act of 2011 (S0665). While efforts to reform alimony in Massachusetts have fallen short in the past, the atmosphere was one similar to watching an athlete jog a victory lap.

In a forum designed to encourage debate and dissenting opinions, there was no notable opposition to the bill, as the Joint Task Force established by the Judiciary Committee seems to have crafted a bill that expected to pass this session. Steve Hitner, the co-founder of the Mass Alimony Reform group, received a standing ovation and a round of applause just prior to testifying. Usually, such welcomes operate against the rules of decorum, but Committee co-chairs Eugene O'Flaherty (D-Chelsea) and Cynthia Stone Creem (D-Newton) allowed it, recognizing the efforts of Hitner and other members of the Task Force in reaching a realistic middle ground.

We at Kelsey & Trask have already voiced our support for the proposed bill, and if it indeeds becomes the law in Massachusetts, we will continue to advocate for our clients under the new law.

If you're interested in seeing a summary of the bill's changes and viewing a calculator for the proposed formulas visit MassAlimonyFormula.com.

You can view the full video of the Joint Committee hearing here.

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