ABA Journal


Family Law

New alimony law in Massachusetts isn’t ‘hoped-for panacea’

Oct 25, 2013, 11:15 am CDT


What is the connection between the new law and the Youngs' situation? For example, would either of them have been better off under the old law? Their problem seems to be a lack of money, not an inadequate law. I understand why reporters like to tell extreme stories, but generalizing from single cases is not empirical research.

By Pushkin on 2013 10 25, 12:00 pm CDT

The important thing is that they slapped him in the slammer 'til the lawyer got paid. Now the parties can work the rest of this out on their own, with whatever limited resources they can scrape up.

By B. McLeod on 2013 10 25, 12:19 pm CDT

The real issue here in Massachusetts, which the Boston Globe article only obliquely touches upon, is the very low quality of the typical political appointees who are made State Judges ignoring or misunderstanding the Law. (As if often pointed out, the appointments seem to go only to campaign contributors.) You can clearly see that in the Bob Schwartz case mentioned in the Boston Globe piece where the ex-wife lives with a partner of 8 years making $177k per year, yet in violation of the Law, Schwartz is required by the judge to pay more than $50k in alimony .

By Tyrone on 2013 10 25, 7:14 pm CDT

Sooner or later men are going to have to realize AND accept that signing their name to a state marriage license is the biggest mistake they will ever make.

By Bob on 2013 10 26, 12:07 am CDT

The major point of the Boston Globe piece is to expose the blatant disregard of the law the appointed judges display; along with the extreme bias that cloud the impartiality that is the cornerstone of our justice system. Without fairness to the people they preside over; and respect of the legislators that write the laws, the system will fall into chaos. This is a issue that touches a great percentage of our population, including the children that depend on people, men and women, who need to rebuild their lives after such a devastating event as divorce.
Our justice system needs to be protected. Legislators write laws, judges read and interpret said law. It is a very dangerous precedent to set in allowing judges to legislate from the bench. However one may feel about one individual case or another, we must agree that our justice system, as it is written, needs to be upheld and judges have to be impartial and fair, and for that to happen they must read the law and follow it whether they agree with it or not.

By Sam on 2013 10 26, 1:18 am CDT

Simply outrages, that we continue to pay a debt that is not owed. A lifetime of Alimony for a failed marriage is a steep price to pay today in America. I urge you to come forward and tell your stories so we can end Lifetime Alimony.

By Nannette on 2013 10 29, 6:27 am CDT

But, the kicker is that it is "owed" if a court with jurisdiction says it is.

Stamp out first marriages!!

By B. McLeod on 2013 10 29, 7:22 am CDT

Is nobody outraged that a judge can flagrantly disregard the law? Isn't a judge supposed to be proficient in elementary school math - if Mr. Young's best income was $125,000 how is 1/3 of that $48,000/year? And why should the wife's lawyer be paid for asking for alimony not allowed by law? Shouldn't both the wife's lawyer and the judge be punished in some way? Shouldn't the wife's lawyer be asked to forfeit her fee? The job of pharmacist involves handling controlled substances and access to a cash register. Once jailed, can Mr. Young pass a reference check to be hired as a pharmacist? Why would a judge jail some one and then expect them to be hired into a job that jailbirds cannot qualify for? And what about dividing assets in 1/2? Why is Mr. Young left with a below poverty level income -- I thought judges were supposed to avoid a result where one party qualifies for welfare. The former Mrs. Young qualifies for subsidized housing for the elderly and would be a dual eligible (Medicare and Masshealth) for health insurance, the same safety net that is for widowed and never married women.
DId both lawyers encourage this couple to squander their lifesavings on legal fees by letting the Youngs' emotions interfere with their ability to understand how to divide assets and lead separate lives?

By observer on 2013 11 04, 3:54 am CST

People who voluntarily continue to inhabit Massachusetts are entitled to enjoy the reality they have built for themselves.

By B. McLeod on 2013 11 04, 6:49 am CST

Add a Comment

We welcome your comments, but please adhere to our comment policy.

Commenting is not available in this channel entry.