PJ Media

Massachusetts is an Expensive Place to Live

Reader Jim writes in with a link a href=”http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/editorial_opinion/oped/articles/2008/06/13/the_chilling_effect_of_states_divorce_laws/”to this Boston Globe article /a entitled, “The chilling effect of state’s divorce laws.” The article describes the antiquated Massachusetts laws that have men paying alimony indefinitely to women who are often educated and/or working. Naturally, no one gives a damn that men are often being screwed, having to pay up to 30 to 40% of their income to these women. The big issue is that (gasp!) women who marry men having this obligation might also get screwed!br /br /blockquoteFORGET KAFKA. Welcome to Massachusetts. In the 1980s, it was known as Taxachusetts. These days, it’s known as the state whose divorce laws are so out of date that many people decide against marrying here – or marrying anyone anywhere whose alimony obligations originate here. I’m one of them. Two divorce lawyers tell me that the state’s laws are so extreme they have “a chilling effect on marriage.” Prenups offer no guarantees. Judges routinely ignore them.br /br /Cathy Ortiz, a secretary in Fairhaven whose husband is out of work, was ordered in 2007 to make alimony payments from her own paycheck to his ex-wife – who has a full-time job with benefits.br /br /Alimony law is largely case law, not statute. Many legislators are shocked to hear the feudal details, unique to Massachusetts. But not shocked enough to reform the law.br /br /The laws are gender neutral, but the facts are not: strong96 percent of alimony payers are men, who often must give 30 to 40 percent of gross earnings to educated and sometimes employed women. /strong [my emphasis]Alimony does not automatically end or decline at retirement, even after an ex-wife has gotten an equitable share of marital assets. This applies in no-fault divorces, to the middle-class, and to millionaires./blockquotebr /br /A man is really in a catch 22 in Massachusetts if he cannot pay alimony. It’s not fair if his current wife has to pay the ex alimony but on the other hand, only when more and more women start suffering from these laws will anyone decide to do anything about them.