Landmark Alimony Reform Act signed into law

Issue October 2011

The Alimony Reform Act of 2011 was signed by Gov. Deval Patrick on Sept. 26, enacting fair and equitable alimony in Massachusetts, including long-sought time limits on parties' obligation to make payments.

"This sweeping alimony reform will lead to some predictability that is lacking in alimony orders. Having suggested durational limits will enable families to do long-range planning, which will help them move forward with their lives," said Denise 
Squillante, immediate past president of the Massachusetts Bar Association. "The act also, importantly, maintains judicial 
discretion. Judges will now be able 
to consider the facts of each case in determining alimony orders."

Squillante sat on the Legislative Task Force on Alimony Reform appointed by the Joint Committee on the Judiciary. She was also co-chair of an earlier committee of MBA and Boston Bar Association leaders that issued a report on alimony reform in the spring of 2009.

The MBA's House of Delegates voted unanimously to support The Alimony Reform Act of 2011 in January. The MBA's Family Law Section has closely monitored the topic of alimony since the early 1990s, and has in the past filed a series of bills to improve alimony laws.

Look for full coverage in the November issue.