Monday, February 22, 2016

Reforming Alimony Reform - A Bill to Fix Chin v. Merriot

On Friday, February 19, 2016, Massachusetts Representative John Fernandes filed House Bill HD4546 to override the ruling of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court in Chin v. Merriot, a case which marked the return of lifetime alimony in Massachusetts.

Fox 25 News reported on the filing, and spoke with Steve Hitner, who was part of the Task Force that drafted the bill.  Steve, and many others (including the authors of this blog), believed the Alimony Reform Act of 2011 clearly allowed the modification of merged alimony orders in instances of retirement age or cohabitation.  However, the SJC read the Act to only allow application of these rules for post March 1, 2012 orders.  Unless the legislature acts, this means that there are different rules for pre-2012 and post-2012 alimony cases.

HD 4546 would clarify the Act, by allowing modification of pre-2012 orders for cohabitation or for the payor reaching full social security retirement age.  If you want to support this bill follow Steve's updates regarding next steps, including a possible upcoming public hearing.

Click here to learn more about The Alimony Reform Act of 2011.

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