I am Stephen Hitner, a victim of the Massachusetts litigated divorce process. After spending hundreds of thousands of dollars from 1996 till 2009 to get through the litigation process I set out to change the Alimony Laws in Massachusetts. Guidelines and Structure were needed so that no one would go thru the experience that I had. My divorce experience was so awful that I was featured in the Boston Magazine in July 2009. Do not let what happened to me happen to you – “Do not Litigate – Mediate”
My View on Alimony
Some people might think that because I am an activist and the force behind the Alimony Reform Act that I am anti-alimony. This perception cannot be farther from the truth. I have never been anti-alimony, I am against alimony for life as the norm. I believe that the purpose of alimony is to help the lessor earning spouse the financial opportunity to go on with their life. At the same time, the payer should have the right to retire. My belief is that the receiving spouse wants and needs security, while the payer needs finality. I have helped payers to get finality to an alimony obligation, as well as consulting with lessor earning spouses to get a fair amount of alimony for a reasonable amount of time.
The Rest of My Story
After an unsuccessful attempt for a modification, I with the help of a few couples, including Second Wives, began a Grass Roots Movement known as the group Mass Alimony Reform. Because of my efforts as President of MAR, I am considered the driving force that changed the alimony Law signed by Gov. Patrick on Sept. 26, 2011.
This could not have happened if it was not for my ability to bring people together from being total advisories to allies. In 2009 I was appointed by the Joint Committee on the Judiciary to work with representatives’ of the Legal Bars including the Mass Bar, the Boston Bar and the Women’s Bar.
After several meetings, we all agreed on a new definition of alimony. . . .
“Alimony – The payment of support to an ex-spouse in need, from an ex-spouse with the ability to pay, for a reasonable length of time.”
As an active member of the Alimony Reform Task Force (the only non-attorney), I gained the understanding of the needs of both parties of divorce, and the destructive process of divorce litigation.
“My ability to listen and understand both sides of a disagreement credits me with getting the Alimony Reform Act of 2011 passed in Judiciary, the House and then the Senate with unanimous votes.”
I strongly believe my own experience and the experience I had with the members of the Task Force has given me the ability to help couples in the throes of divorce to understand each other’s needs. When both parties understand each others needs, it fosters compromise and agreement.
I am not an Attorney
I am a person who believes that people who once were best friends should be able to move on with their lives without animosity. In many cases children are involved and the major focus should be in their best interests. I will strive to keep divorcing couples in control of their divorce with fairness to both sides.
“Divorce is the end of a marriage, it need not be the end of a family, especially when children are involved.”
I am not an attorney and I do not practice law. If litigation is your only option My services compliment, but DO NOT REPLACE the expertise of a competent Family Law Attorney. I will educate you and provide you with tools and information to insure you a more productive and cost effective result.