About Stephen Hitner

Steve Hitner - Divorce MediatorI 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

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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.

8 Responses to About Stephen Hitner

  1. Jim Seder says:

    Good Evening Steve,

    I have followed you for some time as the ARA was crafted and passed. With the (unfortunate) chaos and bizarre misinterpretation of the wording, I wonder if you have insight into whether efforts are being made to address the issue of grandfathering in pre-ARA cases and specifically retirement as defined by the govenment/SS?

    Thx so much for all you have done.

    Jim

  2. A different perspective says:

    **You will be surprised that I support you 100 percent when you read my story. It is unique that I do. I do not ask for support (spousal or child) from my very wealthy ex-husband. We dated for four years and were married for 13. The income difference is incredible. My profession is education (teacher) and I make at the most 25,000 a year with a Master’s Degree. My ex-husband makes upwards of 200,000 a year. I have suffered, however, it is important for me as an educated women to move on. I make barely enough to make ends meet, however, I try my best. The family court system is sad, yet I stand by the fact that I simply want to be a mother to our children and do not want to be supported by a man that wanted a divorce. A smile is worth so much more.

    • admin says:

      You are so much better off without having a controlling financial tie to him. I respect your view and hope that at least you received a fair amount of the marital assets. Feel free to call me if you ever need to talk.

      All the best to you,

      Steve Hitner

  3. Frank Gagliardi says:

    Hello Steve
    My name Is Frank Gagliardi
    I am writing to you because you was involved in the N.J. Alimony reform act passed last year. I ve been keeping eye out for any case law for the new law in N.J.
    And came upon some disturbing news {see landers versus landers Feb 22 2016}
    Seems an amendment was put in the bill bywho identify know a sub section j3
    Which basically says if your Final judgement was prior to the new law it doesn’t
    Apply to someone is of legal retirement age and wants to retire.THis very
    Disturbing news since I am approaching this age and per GOV Christie’s Q And A
    I shoild entitled to presume I can retire under the new law.Canyou tell me if
    Is something that was agreed apon or the lawyers slipping in something in the bill to make a mockery of the hard work we all did to get the bill passed
    Would appreciate a reply

    • admin says:

      Hi Frank,

      Sorry for the delay in my reply. Unfortunately, there are people who have a belief that people need not be self supportive and need to be taken care of. They have a belief that a hard working person has the desire and ability to work well into their 90’s. These lawyers also believe that there is no permanent alimony in New Jersey due to the fact that it ends with the death of the payer. Their outdated and unrealistic philosophical belief is very difficult to overcome. The only way to combat this is to keep at it and never give up in reforming the law. Persistance will win as long as you stay at it.

      Steve Hitner

  4. Peace says:

    Steve,

    I am sorry to say that I disagree with your beliefs. I don’t think one party in a marriage owes the other party anything in a breakup or dissolution. If you have children, you should be able to take care of them as well as yourself if you get into a divorce situation or even if you get into a marriage situation. Why does anyone owe you anything? Take some personal responsibility.

    What if the higher earning spouse had died instead of divorcing the lower earner? No one would have to pay a dime. So why does a higher earner have to pay at all, if they no longer want anything to do with the lower earning spouse or vice versa. Why does unaccounted for indentured servitude come into play? That should be completely illegal and unconstitutional.

    But it is not, because the more people hurt each other the more money attorneys make and we are a nation of laws and lawyers. The government encourages this scam and lives are ruined.

    Believe it or not, I, myself have never been married. I don’t surround myself with family law attorneys either. I’m not really involved in the legal system with the exception of having taken two estate planning classes many years ago.

    I am a girl, who like many others before and around me, have always hoped to marry the man of my dreams, someone who will love me and put me first, while they do the same for them. But, of course, reality sets in. I see how horrible people treat each other in relationships. Marriage seems like an institutional scam? You can’t really trust the person you are with unless you are really lucky.

    But it’s all luck. Some couples are lucky and some are not. Some couples are trustworthy to each other and some are not. So legislation basically punishes the unfortunate. Great system. I think they need to scrap the whole thing. Kids should cost a fixed amount every month. Custody should be 50%/50% and no one should be paying anyone. Payments of any kind should be paid only for children’s expenses and should be paid directly to the expense itself.

    You get a receipt everywhere else but family law. Why is divorce a blank check to a low income earner and encouragement for that spouse to be a deadbeat? I’ll tell you why, because it makes more money for the attorneys.

    Sorry to rain on your parade, but I felt compelled to speak up. Have a lovely week. I am sorry for your suffering.

  5. Paul Duffy says:

    I just reached a settlement thanks in large part to Steve Hitner. He provided me with good counseling and sound advice. Steve’s professionalism, not only in his knowledge of the Massachusetts courts and laws but also in the way he respects you.

    I had been paying Alimony for 20 years with no end in sight. He guided me through good times and bad. He put me in touch with a great attorney and kept in touch with both of us.
    My nightmare is over. Steve is the one to see to help end yours. Good Luck

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