Massachusetts considers ending lifetime alimony

Lawmakers in Massachusetts are considering a change to an alimony law that allows judges to grant the payments for life.

According to The Associated Press, the state’s current law does not place any time limits on how long the judge can award alimony. Illustrative of some of the problems created by the law is the case of Steve Niro.

The news source reports that Niro got married about 30 years ago and was divorced less than five years later. After the youngest child of that marriage graduated from college, Niro was still required to pay $65 per week to his ex-wife. The woman, not happy with this amount, sought alimony modification and a judge agreed to give her $700 per week, reports the news provider.

“I could be paying alimony for the rest of my life for a 4½-year marriage when I was a kid,” Niro told the AP. “It’s just unfair.”

A divorce attorney told the news source that most states no longer have “lifetime alimony” laws because now it is expected that women will go out and work.

Stephen Hinter, who started a grass-roots campaign named MassAlimony Reform, said that change was needed to protect people from going broke through alimony.

“We want the Legislature to act,” he told the news source. “Every day someone else files for bankruptcy from this. Every day someone else’s life is ruined.”