There are two competing alimony reform bills currently pending in the Massachusetts legislature: Senate Bill 1616 and House Bill 1785. The Senate bill, backed by influential members of the Boston Bar Association, essentially would preserve the status quo. It would merely add language to the statute so as to give judges the explicit ability to set a duration for alimony - i.e. to set a term of years, depending on the circumstances.
The Senate bill would indeed improve current alimony law in this limited way. But it would do far too little. In fact, the Senate bill would not be sufficient to bring Massachusetts out of the realm of the absurd. Even with the passage of this modest single reform in the Senate bill, Massachusetts would remain way outside the reasonable norms for alimony, as reflected by the laws in almost every - if not every single other - state in this country.
The House bill, on the other hand, would effect real reform that would bring Massachusetts alimony law into much closer alignment with the alimony law of other states, as it more closely reflects current conventional wisdom on alimony. The House bill would require alimony awards to reflect current economic and social realities. Thus it would be much less likely that outrageous alimony awards, which lead to illogical and unfair economic results, would continue to be regularly negotiated and ordered in our family courts.
The House bill is much more intelligent, reasoned, and has the support of the Massachusetts Alimony Reform organization. However, unlike the Senate bill, which is now backed by the Boston Bar Association, the much more sensible House bill has a broad base of support beyond the most directly affected interest groups - that is, both those interest groups that have been formed by opponents of the current law, and associations of attorneys who would be more inclined to preserve the status quo. And that is why House Bill 1785 is already cosponsored by a very diverse group of 72 legislators, "liberal" as well as "conservative."
Please read both bills (see links above), and tell your House and Senate representatives which bill you favor. For more on this, see Bar association wades into divorce law spat - Boston Business Journal.
For information about Massachusetts divorce and family law, see the divorce and family law page of my law firm website.