Massachusetts alimony reform, a year later

by Walter Olson on November 5, 2013

“The new law, which went into effect March 1, 2012, was hailed as the most dramatic reform in family law in decades and as a model nationwide, with alimony based on need. Unanimously approved by the Massachusetts Legislature, it curbs lifetime payments and sets specific time limits on alimony for marriages of 20 years or less.” So is it working? Bizarre cases and seemingly unreasonable spousal burdens persist: “the law, while a clear improvement, hasn’t been the hoped-for panacea.” [Bella English, Boston Globe]

{ 1 comment }

1 Tom Leustek 11.05.13 at 8:41 am

“Hoped-for panacea” is rather strong language. Who exactly was hoping for a panacea? More realistically, “a clear improvement” is the best that could have been hoped for and more accurately describes the true expectations of those involved in creating the Alimony Reform Act 2011. Alimony is a deeply entrenched part of some societies, with individual biases and preconceptions abounding, and a powerful opportunity for the legal class to harvest money from the productive class. I doubt that anyone was hoping for a “panacea”. But most everyone is happy with a “clear improvement” for the time being. Those affected by antiquated concepts of lifetime alimony need to be vigilant. It will take long-term pressure to right a system that detests change.

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