March 25, 2013: Correction Reform Debate
March 25, 2013: Dr. Nick Trout
March 25, 2013: Newtown in Boston
March 21, 2013: Mayor Tom Menino
March 21, 2013: Olin College
March 20, 2013: A Raisin in the Sun
5/20/13 6:00 AM
5/20/13 12:00 PM
5/20/13 6:00 PM
5/20/13 7:00 PM
Donna commented on Greater Boston on 04.27.12
Im a divorced single mom with an exhusband that makes easily 4 times my salary. When he and I got divorced the answer was clear, we each take care of our son when the child was with us because taking care of your kids should be the priority. He is since remarried and has two more children. There is no alimony. We arent even responsible for our children for the rest of their lives, only until they turn 18, but somehow a marriage gives us a lifetime responsibility for another human being if things dont work out. If you stay together and your finances get worse then you share in that but after the divorce you are supposed to somehow still come up with the money you had before your divorce. Alimony is largely antiquated, a throw back to a time when women had fewer opportunities then men. Now as women we will fight for our equal rights and abilities but take advantage of this system when it suits us financially. Even child support makes no sense. If you are both taking care of your child equally why do you, as a higher earning parent, need to pay the lower earning parent, so that your child supposedly has the same financial options at both houses. The court pays no attention to a second marriage or the children from it and hurts that family, taking money that could be put away for college for these new children so the first kid can go to Disney or the exspouse can spend the money however they see fit. It isnt always a matter of financial abuse but having been married once should not link a couple for life financially. You dont get a job and collect a salary for life even after you are fired. There are no guarantees in life. Yes, if you are the stay at home parent who keeps the home and raises the children there is definitely a claim in having a temporary alimony while you gain an education so you can go to the work force and become fully self supporting. Alimony until you are remarried and someone else supports you is obscene. In the case of relationship abuse, deal with that in civil court but again, why is that an alimony mater. In any case of abuse if you have a claim where you feel there is financial reparation due you can file for that and the court can make that decision. It should not be based on how your partner financially supported you during your marriage but on the abuse. We are mixing two separate issues. It is time for this country to protect families, especially those of second marriages, and stop endless alimony. It is time for us as women to take pride in our own abilities and not ask for anyone else to support us. It is time to stop child support that is just veiled alimony and the mobius strip of alimony.
Rich commented on Greater Boston on 02.23.11
Emily Rooney, Thank you again for airing this very important issue. I came across this today, written by Abraham Lincon over 150 years ago. This applies so much to life in general. It sure hits close to home if you are paying Alimony! "You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich. You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong. You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift. You cannot lift the wage earner up by pulling the wage payer down. You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred. You cannot build character and courage by taking away peoples initiative and independence. You cannot help people permanently by doing for them,what they could and should do for themselves." Abraham Lincoln
jayn commented on Greater Boston on 02.14.11
Wendy Murphy as well as the judge my husband has dealt with for 9 years have no concern for the wives and children of second marriages. My husbands business crashed 3 years ago. Our children had to witness their father being put in jail for weeks due to our inability to keep paying his working exwife $1500 a week. We lost our home and have nothing left. Since we got married 9 years ago we have spent over $250,000 i legal fees, because his ex kept taking him back to court. My husband has paid his exwife well over one million dollars.I contributed all of my pre marriage savings to this and now have 2 young children and no money. The exwife has no minor children. So why is there no concern for a second wife and children?
Bruce commented on Greater Boston on 02.13.11
Im glad that attorney Wendy Murphy disclosed upfront that she had no experience working with the Family Court system. Outside of situations of abuse, she seemed to be completely clueless as to what is going on in Family Court, particular matters related to alimony. It is the first time I have ever heard ANYONE say that the Family Courts are unfair to women. Other than that, it was an excellent presentation!
Alan commented on Greater Boston on 02.11.11
Thank you for providing visibility to this very important social issue. The need for reform is overdue by about 150 years. It is interesting to note how some argue the negative side of this story by leaning on obscure conner cases and hypotheticals, rather than the 99.9 mainstream cases. We have a system today that cripples and manipulates normal behaviors based on a financial motivation/incentives. I have witnessed this on a presonal level over the last 12 years since my divorce. It is time to move forward with progressive change.
Anthony commented on Greater Boston on 02.11.11
Does Wendy Murphy represent the Organization of Starving Artists? She seemed particularly concerned with their plight of not working so they could paint and shacking up with alimony recipient divorcees. At least that is what she seemed to suggest. Great job Wendy as thats where the public policy focus should be instead of on the thousands of hardworking taxpaying citizens and their children who have seen their lives ruined by this. Glad to see the Womans Bar Association has endorsed the Alimony Reform Bill of 2011. Of course, Wendy Murphy and her starving artist friends might disagree.
Beth commented on Greater Boston on 02.11.11
what i find curious is the information I gathered when I googled Attorney Murphys name. She is not in fact a lawyer, but an Adjunct Professor of Law, B.A. Boston College, J.D. New England School of Law, Sexual Violence Perspectives in Law. She is clearly the incorrect third voice on this issue as all she sees all day are victims of domestic abuse. If that is what she sees all day, then she has no right to address alimony with is a complete and total separate issue from a criminal abuse case! She is also dragging in child support to the issue when that again is a separate issue and should not be confused into lumping it in with alimony. Even child support ENDS when a child reaches adulthood and can ably support themselves. So I do no put any stock in anything she was saying, not only because she misrepresented herself but her primary focus is domestic violence and there is NO correlation with most alimony cases and violence. Wendy needs to listen to some cases where the exspouse is taking complete advantage of the other one, complete with verbal abuse and threats to drag him/her back to court for more money because they left. Get a clue, Wendy and next time stick to your own subject matter.
Josie commented on Greater Boston on 02.11.11
Emily, thank you for keeping the public informed regarding the need for Alimony Reform in Mass. Wendy Murphy is clearly uneducated and illinformed regarding the current Alimony Law in Mass and the negative effects that it has on all parties involved. I left an abusive spouse after 18 years of marriage with two small children in your neighboring state of Rhode Island. "Entitlement for Life" was not part of the divorce settlement. The judge encouraged both of us to move on with our lives and put the best interest of the children first. I was allotted a one time rehabilitative payment to further my education in order to become selfsufficient. I have been working fulltime for 10 years while raising my two sons. I have an amicable relationship with my ex because noone was forced into "serving" the other . . . money should never be used as a tool to control another party. This, my dear Wendy, has a negative affect on children who grow up with the entitlement mentality. I have seen first hand what happens to children who see one parent at home receiving an automatic paycheck each week while they could be a productive member of society . . . but refuses. In addition, since when does a woman put a career on "hold" for 20 or 30 years??? Children enter school at age 5 and graduate from high school at 18. If a woman chooses to do nothing during those years, then this is a personal issue. There is no reason why a woman cant obtain training or reenter the work field after children are grown. Read the truth about what is really going on in Mass Probate Courts . . . or better yet, why not witness the abusive behavior towards payers of alimony first hand by observing . . . it is clearly criminal. This is America. No one should have their freedom striped for life! Lets get real.
Glenn commented on Greater Boston on 02.11.11
Im glad that Wendy Murphy introduced herself as an attorney that doesnt practice in family court, because that explains her lack of knowledge about what goes on. Massachusetts Family Court is notoriously gender biased, but towards women and against men, which is just the opposite of Ms. Murphys statements. She should spend some time talking to both sides of supplicants to the Family Court.
Karen commented on Greater Boston on 02.11.11
Thank you Emily, the focus on alimony reform has been long overdue. The idea that any person would remain in an abusive relationship for the money is ludicrous. The cloak of abuse is so much more complicated than just money. Alimony reform would give judges parameters to follow in all cases of divorce. If grounds were abuse, the financial elements could be calculated to benefit the person that was abused with not only a mechanism to improve their life financially but access to mental health for the emotional healing. End result of a fair alimony law a healthy, independent woman with pride after getting herself out of an abusive relationship.A great life lesson for any of the children that may be involved in such a divorce. Leading by example so those kids have a chance to break the abuse cycle in their own lives. What a concept.
Glenn commented on Greater Boston on 02.11.11
I assume that Ms. Wendy Murphy was included on the program to provide an opposing voice to alimony reform. It is very meaningful that WGBH cannot locate a more knowledgeable and articulate opponent of alimony reform than Ms. Murphy. She reminds me of the proponents and apologists for legal segregation during my childhood in Louisiana who spread fear and mistruths through false generalizations and prejudice. What is clear is that there is no valid opposition to alimony reform in Massachusetts as the current law and practice is inhumane, damaging and degrading to everyone involved both exspouses, their children, and "next" partners. The time is long past for reform and the proposed legislation is far better than the current law.
Susan commented on Greater Boston on 02.10.11
Thank you Emily, for continuing to focus on the need for Alimony reform in Massachusetts. I dont know what planet Wendy Murphy is on her views do not reflect the reality of Alimony in 21st century Massachusetts. The current system is abusive to men and second wives, presuming women most recipients cant support themselves and are deserving of a lifestyle. Alimony payers are often required to pay for the rest of their lives, with no opportunity to recoup their savings, remarry or support their new families. Where is the fairness there? I for one think the proposed bill does not go far enough and allows too much judicial discretion, but it is the best that Steve Hitner could get, especially with the Wendy Murphys out there. Reform is long overdue. Emily, I hope you can have another segment on this, and have the guests talk about real issues, and not the smokescreens and distortions that people like Ms. Murphy use to distract from the real issue.
Tom commented on Greater Boston on 02.10.11
Thank you for your coverage of this issue. I have an alimony for life provision to an exwife who is 45 years old, had a 14 year career prior to the birth of our children, and has worked after the birth of our children in temp to perm role. Her alimony plus child support provides her a six figure income. The divorce resulted in her receiving almost $1 million in assets including a fully paid for house. What is her incentive to work for the next 20 years? The laws need to change to be more specific and not force judges to comply with the current outdated case law. Alimony til death do us part ...... ridiculous.
ted commented on Greater Boston on 02.10.11
Bravo, Emily Rooney and WGBH for your segment on alimony reform. Please continue to expose this great injustice that is unique to our state. Shame on you Wendy Murphy for your backward, gender stereotying of women as helpless, powerless and incapable. Is this really the message you want to give to our daughters and sons about their mothers? My boyfriend pays massive alimony to an ex who refuses to work more than a few hours a week despite being very well educated and more than capable. She has her own assets in the range of 2 million,minimal living expenses and receives over 70,000 a year in alimony while he has been saddled with massive debts and no ability to save for his retirement. Who is the victim here, Wendy?
Lisa commented on Greater Boston on 02.10.11
Thank you for WGBH for doing this story! We need alimony reform and we need it now. Unfortunately when people think of alimony they think of the stereotypical story of a 2030 year marriage that when grandma gets divorced she will be left high and dry.. Too Bad Atty Wendy Murphy did not read the bill before going on air if she had she would know that lower earning spouses in long term marriages 20 years are protected under the new bill. What was missing from the conversation is that their is no fairness in the law now. The current law promotes an entitlement situation where the lower earning spouse never has to try to change their situation or better themselves... My boyfriend pays 30K in child support for to kids in college with room and board paid alimony on top of this basically totaling 1/2 his income... the mom... lives with someone else in a 1/2 million dollar house and pays no rent ... doesnt have to try to help support herself... Meanwhile, my boyfriend and I cant get married or she will get some of my income too... I am still paying dept of my Exs... The worst part is watching the stress of all of this burden on boyfriend... I am worried that the will soon cause him to have a heart attack as a payer you can never get ahead...
Marie commented on Greater Boston on 02.10.11
Ms. Rooney Thank you for highlighting this issue! I am a divorced mother of two and I totally support the reform! The more the public learns about what is really going on and the more the state of alimony is brought to light, the greater the outcry for change. Anthony below You perfectly summed up what Wendy Murphy seemed to be attempting to do. When I saw this episode, it reminded me of how past opponents tried to "cloud the issue" by making it sound like child support and alimony were the same thing, when in fact that are two totally diffent animals and are unrelated. Ms. Murphy is now trying to "cloud the issue" by claiming domestic violence and alimony are tied together. What?? They are two totally unrelated things. Not so say, there arent some women and/or men who were abused by a former spouse, but the majority of the divorces are "no fault" and the majority dont involve any violence. Sometimes women cheat, sometimes men do, sometimes they just fall out of love, whatever the reason.... it does not automatically equate to Men bad, Women victim. That is silly and an old fashioned way of thinking. Further, most women would love to stay home with the children and not have to work...myself included, but that would not be fair to my ex, so I dont try to get alimony out of him I work. And, as a result, our children are happy and well adjusted straight A students and we have both moved on with our lives. Ms. Murphy stop being a litigator and start being fair to everyone!
TIMOTHY commented on Greater Boston on 02.10.11
Emily Rooney Thank you so much for airing the need for alimony reform. I too am a victim of the current archaic alimony laws that have awarded my exwife a total of 10 years and counting alimony payments at $450 per week. I too have had modification after modification to increase my alimony obligation, including the latest modification that was almost immediately after I remarried. I was so shocked. Everyone in Massachusetts that is contemplating marrying a divorced person in Massachusetts needs to be aware of the injustice practice of creating a new "household income" that is based on the new wife’s income and assets and IS used to justify a “material change in circumstances” to argue for and receive an increase in alimony payments to the ex spouse. I was absolutely shocked and regretted remarrying and being exposed to further gouging by this unfair and costly system. My exwife has received well over $250,000 in alimony payments. She could have used this money to enable her to get a college education or simply increased vocational training. She hasn’t done nothing significant to increase her capacity to support herself. According to her latest financial statement, she took knitting classes. She feels entitled. I would too if I could lay up, cohabitate with family and friends and never need to justify my needs to receive or continue to receive alimony. While I paid alimony every week, I also paid for our daughter’s college tuition and room and board. I worked like a frigging slave to pay all the court ordered bills and got rewarded with additional alimony several times and a run on a cardiac stress test on a tread mill for practically killing myself to make enough money to pay the order I previously was issued, now more on overtime! This Alimony Reform bill for 2011 doesnt go far enough to eliminate alimony entitlement. After dividing up the assets and liabilities, parties to a divorce should receive alimony only on a needs basis and even then for duration, never should life time alimony be awarded. I dont have an obligation to my flesh and blood children after age 23, why should I be obligated to support a former, lazy, financially irresponsible and dependent spouse for life. This bill is a first step toward sanity predictability and consistency to begin to address many of the major flaws in our current probate system pertaining to divorce. Thank you Marc Fitzgerald of the Massachusetts Bar Association and Gregory Shoukimas of the MAR for taking the time out to speak so articulately and specifically on the issues effecting us payors of alimony.
Anthony commented on Greater Boston on 02.10.11
Wendy Murphy made a number of erroneous allegations. Not only were they not grounded in logic, but they are not supported by the facts or any statistical studies. For example 1. Domestic violence increasing because woman want to hold out until 5 years and a day? Other than making it up, where did she come up with that? Almost all the other states in the country have instituted time lines in their alimony laws. Has there been a sudden increase in domestic violence in New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont, New York, New Jersey, Delaware do I really have to name them all?. The answer is "no" alimony reform isnt debated in any of these states anymore because its been fixed. And there are no increases in violence across the nation based on alimony reform. This is a figment of Wendy Murphys imagination or just a ploy to keep the case loads in the Family Court as high as can be so she can keep cashing in for every modification hearing. 2. The woman who gets divorced after 20 years suffering? Not under the new bill, as, assuming that she got married in her 20s lets say 26 and then divorced at 46, she would get alimony for 16 years until at least age 62 and could easily address retirement and other asset divisions in the course of her divorce. Sixteen years of alimony, retirement, and assets isnt enough? What is then? 3. Men having the upper hand in family court? For real? The statistics show that 96 of all alimony recipients often for life are women. Doesnt sound like theyre getting railroaded to me. This bill was designed by the major stakeholders including legislators on the Judiciary Committee, the Mass Bar Association, the Womens Bar Association, and the Chief Justice of the Family and Probate Court. But somehow Wendy Murphy knows better than them? I think not. I think Wendy Murphy is someone who has long profited over a dysfunctional alimony situation and wants to continue doing so or maybe just likes to be contrarian so she can get her face in the news. I prefer to go with the statistics, the other 49 or so states, the Mass Bar Association, the other bar associations, the Chief Justice of the Family and Probate Court, and the countless people who have suffered through this humiliating and unjust situation. Sorry Wendy if that costs you a few of your billable hours.
Tom commented on Greater Boston on 02.10.11
The vast majority of men in Massachusetts do not abuse their wives and children. We are a productive force in society. We build houses and repair the roads. We are doctors, engineers and entrepreneurs. We risk our lives as policemen, firemen and soldiers. Millions of us do a lot of good in for our society and we are getting a raw deal here. To punish all men with lifetime Alimony because a small percentage are abusers is unfair. My ex wife has the house with no mortgage, no financial worries and great employment opportunities. She chooses not to work. Wendy, how would you feel if your son was forced to pay an unemployment benefit to an exwife for the rest of his life? Many hardworking nonabusive men and women who are immersed in divorce litigation have crafted this important bill. It considers all factors the judges deal with in court every day. The bill also provides guidelines to help the parties of divorce settle out of court. People need to read this bill to understand how comprehensive it is.
Hellimony in MA commented on Greater Boston on 02.10.11
Definitely thanks to Emily Rooney, Marc Fitzgerald of the Massachusetts Bar Association and Mass Alimony Reform supporter Gregory Shoukimas for their articulating the problems and abuses with the current laws. To Marcs point, there has to be guidelines for our judges, just as there are with the child support laws. Without them, you have abuses and unfairness in the system over the long term. Unfortunately Attorney Wendy Murphy does not seem to understand that those abuses in the system exist. Gregorys case is an example of a classic case it is very simple to understand that this is not right. But keep in mind that there are real horror stories that serrate the unfairness that alimony has inflicted on peoples lives. In my particular case, I pay alimony for life. My exwife has been in a relationship and has been cohabitating ever since the divorce she has no intention to remarry for the very fact that alimony payments would cease. She and her partner coown what was once the marital home and they are currently building a retirement home in a resort location. I cannot ask for modification since her cohabitors income cannot be taken in consideration by the current laws. All the while, my new wife and I struggle to make ends meet. I have no hope for retirement since alimony payments do not stop when reaching retirement age under the current laws. The Alimony Reform Bill #107 would provide a sunset to my burden and will right the unfairness which has been unleashed on thousands of alimony payees in Massachusetts. Is this so hard to understand, Attorney Murphy?
Rich commented on Greater Boston on 02.10.11
Re Reforming Massachusetts alimony laws. I want to thank Emily Rooney, Marc Fitzgerald of the Massachusetts Bar Association and Mass Alimony Reform supporter Gregory Shoukimas for their time and efforts to bring this urgent matter to the public again. Its truly sad in these modern times, in a Highly Educated Society, that common sense didnt prevail and Alimony reform didnt take a natural and gradual progression that followed along with the educational and cultural changes that have occurred in our society over the past 200 years. I was very surprised by Wendy Murphys comments, she appeared to be uninformed and strongly gender biased. The fact is Family Probate Court is not gender biased at all, its all about who makes the money. Its not Women and children who are abused in Family Court. It is the Higher Earning Spouse that is abused 100 of the time, usually the man 96 of the time. Women make up the other 4, but thats on a steady increase. My Ex lives like a Queen, better than during our marriage. No mortgage, constantly taking vacations IE Cruises, Casino Trips and etc. While I am forced to draw from my retirement account just to pay bills and buy food. I just hope my retirement account doesnt run dry before these Archaic Alimony Laws are reformed.
Elizabeth commented on Greater Boston on 02.10.11
Attorney Murphys Email Address is email@example.com.
Daniel commented on Greater Boston on 02.10.11
This information is unbelievably overdue. Thank you for presenting it. Mass Alimony reform is something that will only help the general population. Atty Murphys lack of active participation in this area is very clear. Child abuse is not an item that should be used for determining Alimony. There are other forums for that. I was not a Chld or Spouse abuser.I was accused of being unfaithful for 12 years and not until after the divorce was final was it admitted that there was a mistake made on her part. She was always proud to say she worked 2 jobs. We agreed and made a concious choice as to who would stay home so that our children would be raised by us. There was no force used. How does anything that Ms. Murphy said aply here? When I lost my job, my Alimony amount was reduced, not eliminated. If we were married, we would have had to deal with it. Not so for the receiver of alimony. If I work harder to make more money, I am penalized. I think participants should read through and evaluate an item before going public with a aired response based upon what appears to be one item of concern that they might have heard about and not read.
Andrew commented on Greater Boston on 02.10.11
Thank you for airing this topic. The proposed bill to reform alimony deserves more comprehensive journalistic inquiry and dialogue. The detrimental impact that it has had on children of divorcees goes well beyond that addressed. Ms. Muprhys inflammatory reference to abused women and children was especially unproductive to understanding the topic. If the average citizen know how alimony is awarded they would be appalled at its clear inequity. That it promotes discord and lifetime acrimony in many, if not the majority of cases, prevents people and their children from moving on in a productive way after a divorce. The theory of the current system of judgments ties a couple together for life after a divorce. Aside from the obvious inequity, there is no incentive for an alimony recipient to every seek employment nor do judges require any proof of their financial need. This is likely to continue under the proposed bill that delivers significant judicial discretion and should make those with the position of Ms. Murphy who are both prejudicial and attorneys who profit from endless litigation, very happy. Such cynical people drive the current and even the proposed alimony award system. While a step in the right direction given its removal of alimony as an entitlement and that requires clear and compelling evidence of a need for alimony, the proposed bill give judges the discretion to continue with death or remarriage alimony. Please consider airing a far more comprehensive review of the proposal and the reality of alimony orders that are highly unlikely to be reversed even if the proposal becomes law.
sharon commented on Greater Boston on 02.10.11
Emily, thanks for airing this. I am a female physician with an almost all female practice. Attorney Murphy Only a very few privileged women get to be stayathome, unemployed housewives now. Some of the other housewives you are referring to work under the table at cash businesses, which they may not tell you about. Others milk alimony and other entitlement programs to be free to call their time their own and pursue hobbies or be "housewives" for friends, family, and neighbors. Alimony payors do not need to support this. And by the way when the entitlement ends guess what happens? The recipient whether it is workmans comp, unemployment, disability, or welfare goes out and gets a legal gig called a job.
Keith commented on Greater Boston on 02.10.11
I think Wendy Murphy is out of touch with reality. I am not alone in this. I am just one of many in the same boat. Here is my story My exwife is a registered nurse with 30 years experience. This gives her an earning capacity well in excess of $100,000 annually. She took a part time job for half of her normal hourly rate, threw me out of the house and had her boyfriend move in before the divorce was final. She got lifetime alimony from me and half of my retirement savings. She had no savings so I got nothing in return. I have paid for almost 10 years while she has cohabitates with the same man with no chance of getting out of paying alimony for life. The courts will not grant me a court date to review this situation. Worse yet I am now remarried. This has put me at risk of being taken back to court by my exwife for an alimony increase because my "household income" has gone up. Better yet, my new wife gets child support from her exhusband. Her child support is added to the "household income" amount used to calculate the new alimony payment for my exwife. How on earth is something like this even remotely fair? These laws created in the 1700s are in dire need of an update. Most of the men out there are not treated fairly and as far as we are concerned this proposed legislation doesnt go far enough. We are truly indentured slaves, victims of a badly broken system.
William commented on Greater Boston on 02.10.11
After watching this episode I truly believe that Attorney Murphy really needs to sit inside a court room and hear the divorce court proceedings that go on. Its obvious the she is working with clients that have been abused and is standing up for them which I applaud her for. But to say that women would stay in an abusive relationship for more time just because its economically better for them I believe is outrageous. After attending many of the Alimony Reform meetings I know realize that most exspouses that are receiving alimony are either making a decent living themselves, living with a partner who contributes to their life style or are just sitting at home capable of working and making their own living but are just collecting off the exhusband or exwife and their new spouses. At the same time the people that are paying alimony and in most cases child support are living pay check to pay check some incapable of getting ahead living in a rented room or in a relatives house because they can not afford anything else while their exspouses are living in their home, driving their car and taking vacations with their new partners. And when they retire will have to pay the alimony out of their retirement money that the exspouse has already gotten half of during the divorce agreement. I would really like to know from Attorny Murphy where she believe this is far for anyone to have to endure.
Susan commented on Greater Boston on 02.10.11
Thanks to WGBH and Emily Rooney for keeping Alimony Reform frontandcenter. Given the format of this show, the discussion only touched the surface and would have benefitted from more interaction between the three guests. Putting that aside along with domestic abuse that is separate from divorce, Wendy Murphys issues with women being married for twenty years and giving up their jobs to take care of families is something out of another generation. Most women today who have families are working at least parttime and capable of working given education or experience. The women, Wendy may be referring to are more than likely upper middle class and higher, who should know like everyone else, that there are no guarantees in life. I am a single woman living with my fiance who is paying alimony and have put off marriage for financial and legal reasons. As a baby boomer woman, given more opportunities for education and choices than my mother and her generation, I am astounded that women who had these same opportunities would look for such entitlement and have little selfrespect for themselves. Anyway, I cant tell if Wendy did not have the facts or simply wanted to keep stirring a pot on behalf of some divorced women receiving nice alimony checks that may feel threatened by potential alimony reform that might affect them.
pam commented on Greater Boston on 02.10.11
I am enormously in favor of Alimony Reform in this state. I found Wendy Murphy,s comments to be terribly biased against men. What a woman chooses to do in staying or not staying in a relationship is a personal decision. If the woman chooses to base that decision on money and the length of a marriage ,then that is her responsibility. I truly do not see a correlation between that and durational alimony and corresponding amounts of money. I guess she is saying that everyone else should suffer and there should be no limits to alimony because some abused person is going to stay in a marriage longer because of that. Whatever happened to personal responsibility? I was brought up to believe limits were a good thing and I still do. Thank you Emily Rooney for airing this program. Alimony for life in Massachusetts is insane and cruel. Lets get more in line with reality and stop the alimony abuse in this state.
Indetured4 commented on Greater Boston on 02.10.11
I am pleased to see this great coverage and was very disappointed in Wendy Murphys ignorant view. Child and wife abuse should be handled as a criminal case. Abuse should not be used to form divorce law. Abuse cases should be used as an excuse to punish every payer in a divorce case. Also, if a payee decides to live with someone that does not have means, the payer should not be required to pay for both of them. Alimony should be a transitional payment, one that helps the less advantaged spouse to get back on their feet and the less advantaged spouse must show a reasonable effort is being made to get back on their feet or alimony should be withheld. I have been paying alimony to my ex for over 11 years. I am a victim of a long time marriage. I kept the family together so my children would have the best possible lives. They are all grown, through college married and having children of their own. I Dont regret my decision, however, it has been a painful economic lesson as I am now unemployed and paying alimony. My ex has gone on and gotten a third college degree MBA and is gainfully employed while I send my unemployment check to cover my alimony and live off of my retirement savings. My ex already got half of everything my ex got more then half of the retirement savings as I had medical issues at the time of separation that required I take some of the savings to cover medical costs and was required to take it out of my half. I currently have to pay for life. This is a modern version of slavery and Massachusetts should be ashamed of supporting any kind of slavery. Please pass this law and give the abused payers a chance to have a normal life.
wayne commented on Greater Boston on 02.10.11
I want to thank Emily Rooney and WGBH for bringing this topic to light. Thank you MassAlimony Reform for all you have done. It is sad that a hateful misandric person like Wendy Murphy is allowed to spread lies on your program. She states that women and children will be hurt by this, forcing women to stay in abusive marriages longer than they should. Wendy lets get the facts straight, intimate partner violence happens on a 50/50 ratio, when there is abuse men are just as likely as women to initiated. Wendy more women are graduating college than men, women are no longer dependent on men unless they allow it to happen, many women are the main breadwinner because more men are able to be stay at home dads. Wendy your eye rolling and demeanor just isnt cutting it anymore it is time for a new career.
bruce commented on Greater Boston on 02.10.11
Thank you Emily Rooney and WGBH for airing this important show. In light of all the comments below and that the current law is viewed by the Mass Bar Assn. and just about everyone else as clearly unfair, nothing else need be said.
Daniel commented on Greater Boston on 02.10.11
Im thrilled to see Mass Bar fully supports the bill, it is badly needed. Attorney Murphy needs to look at the issue some more because her thinking is rather limited. Sure abused women need to be protected but I bet this represent a fairly small percentage of divorces. What about the case when a woman leaves her husband for someone else and he has to pay her alimony for life, thats completely unfair. This is a NO FAULT divorce state, so alimony should only be transitional to allow the ex what wasnt working to get some training and get a job. Women are just as capable as men to support themselves. This bill will just encourage them to do so instead of feeling that the deserved to be supported for the rest of their lives.
Elizabeth commented on Greater Boston on 02.10.11
As a woman, I was very disappointed to hear the opinions expressed in this interview by Wendy Murphy. The new legislation is comprehensive and contains safety valves in the law for both men and women in abusive relationships. She seemed to imply that all women going through the system were abused, and all men were the abusers. What about regular people who want to move on with their lives? Everyone agrees that women may not necessarily have the same economic opportunities postdivorce, but why shouldnt a younger divorcee who is capable of working earn what she or he can? As for her comments on cohabitation if a woman wants to be in a relationship with a poor man post divorce, that is her choice. Why should the ex husband have to pay to support a "starving artist without a shirt on his back?" If the couple has children, does Wendy Murphy REALLY think that economic opportunities for HIS OWN CHILDREN should go to support a MALE ADULT who chooses to do art? I think her generalizations about women and men are insulting and she has obviously not been in this situation, known a lot of divorced people, and has not thought this through.
Dennis commented on Greater Boston on 02.10.11
There is no justice in MA. You get married and pay alimony for life when you are divorced. You think that is fair? Because you were married to someone that entitles you to life long income? Nice deal why didnt I think of that! My divorce was mutual and agreed upon by my x and myself. No one was messing around, we just went our separate ways and decided to get a divorce. I was married 10 years with no children and I have been divorced 8 years and I have to pay alimony for life, provide health insurance for my X,and provide life insurance on myself, with my X as the beneficiary, so she can get more money in case I die. It is just so unfair, that it is crazy. If I had known about this I would have never gotten married. I would not advise anyone to get married in the state of MA where you are condemned to pay until you die.
Beth commented on Greater Boston on 02.10.11
I am so glad this bill is getting more exposure. It is definitely time for the alimony laws to be reformed here in MA. As a second wife, I see first hand the pain and monetary pressures, especially in this poor economic time, that outrageous alimony payments puts on a person and his/her new spouse. I am saddened by Wendys narrow views. Of course I see her views on the abused women and children and agree there needs to be provisions for abused relationships, but what about people without children who are divorced and are forced to pay thousands a month in alimony such as my husband? Wendy also makes a point of disagreeing with the cohabitation part. My husbands ex is living with a man and her alimony has not been adjusted even though she was awarded a ridiculous amount because of the house payments and upkeep. Now she no longer has the house, but he is still forced to pay as if she did and we are constantly strapped for money. Wendys remark of well what is she cohabits with a poor man....Excuse me? So the exhusband is now forced to not only pay to support her but now he is essentially supporting her new fling too? No, once she lives with someone, it needs to be reevaluated and if she is being paid for house expenses, such as in our case, then it no longer applies when she moves into his apartment. Why would they ever get married and stop the thousands a month she is getting? She doesnt have to work every again in her life, so why stop that? It is cases such as these that are truly a shame and are keeping women in the stone age. We are very capable of getting a job, alimony should only be a transitional thing to get someone back on their feet, not a license to stay ineffectually unemployed living off of someone esp when there are no kids or the kids are grown as if it was back in the 50s. We are looking at a life sentence with his ex, when we clearly want to move on but she will always be in our lives threatening to take him back to court at a drop of the hat which has happened more than once. This new law will give us an enddate so we can plan our future and retirement together without worrying about job losses, prison, or forcing me to pay for his exwife which has happened in other cases. We all need to put an end to this antiquated law and have realistic laws set into place.
Steve commented on Greater Boston on 02.10.11
I agree with both of you. I got divorced 6 years ago and still paying. She retired already and collecting SS. Im not only paying $31k a year in alimony, health and dental insurance but she got the house and a car and chooses not to work and she is more than capable. Stopping alimony at retirement only makes sense for either the payee or payor. We shouldnt be punished and not able to retire because of a bad marriage. After all, a divorce is just that separate and go your own ways and start a new life. It shouldnt be allowed to hold back the payor from having a new life and being able to retire. Everyone knows that regardless of the life style you had when you are married, it WILL change when you are divorced regardless if you stay married or not, so alimony should stop, period, when either party retires and starts collecting.
Robert commented on Greater Boston on 02.10.11
Till death do you part..seems a trite phrase when you are in your 40s or 50s How can an divorce become pay to you die ? My own experience was one of getting the "bums rush" though the courthouse doors. The Judge at that time was well known to bleed as much as possible from the male half of the divorce. The wife left me for another woman. House sold,money divided, kids grown and all college costs paid for. I have to give her half my small pension until I die oh yes carry life insurance for her if I should die early This has to change. The ex is college educated, but why improve if the dope like me keeps paying...
Bink commented on Greater Boston on 02.10.11
The assumption that it is women who always sacrifice their careers to care for children is antiquated, to say the least. In all the families I know, either both parents work, or, if one works, it is the one who has the greatest earning potential from the start. I know many families for whom this means the father chooses to stay home to care for the kids, or works part time, or at a less demanding job, while the mom pursues the more lucrative career. The presumption that men are the wage earners is stereotypical. Property division at the time of divorce should be enough to get most men or women on track, with alimony for a limited period in certain cases. People make choices career choices, choices to bear or adopt children, etc. There are no guarantees in life! Lets stop penalizing people for marrying the wrong person. Yes, I do know several successful women who are paying alimony to completely ablebodied workingage spouses who choose to milk the system. Alimony is the worst kind of welfare, creating a disincentive for men and women to ever even attempt to support themselves. We already have the ridiculous child support formula. Child support guidelines are already so widely abused that it is laughable. The state loses millions in taxable dollars every year by allowing people who are earning hundreds of thousands of dollars a year under the table to declare "no income" at the time of divorce, because they simply dont pay taxes on their income. When will MA wake up? For such a supposedly progressive state with such a high level of education, we have an amazingly regressive and inefficient system when it comes to divorce.
Under current law, ex-spouses in Massachusetts are required to pay alimony for life. But a new bill proposes changing the alimony system from one based on entitlement to one based on need. Emily is joined by attorney Wendy Murphy, Marc Fitzgerald of the Massachusetts Bar Association and alimony reform supporter Gregory Shoukimas.
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