Rachel Biscardi


This Article examines alimony in Massachusetts through the lens of the Alimony Reform Act of 2011. The first half of the Article focuses on why alimony recipients continue to need alimony despite the economic gains made by women in the past fifty years. This section identifies some, but not all, of the factors that make alimony an equitable remedy in a divorce, including: (a) the stay at home spouse’s professional sacrifices; (b) the wage gap; (c) the glass ceiling; and (d) marketable skills post-divorce. This section further dispels the arguments made by alimony opponents that the equitable division of assets during the divorce and the safety net of public benefits are sufficient to mitigate the need for alimony. Finally, this section focuses on why alimony may be the only relief available to women who have sacrificed career for family.

The second half of the Article dispels the myth that women were the “losers” in alimony reform by explaining how the Alimony Reform Act benefits the majority of alimony recipients. This section first discusses the obvious beneficiaries of alimony reform: Alimony payors, the courts, and the legal system as whole. It then demonstrates how reform also benefits women by highlighting key provisions of the Alimony Reform Act that benefit women. The section also considers some of the Act’s less favorable provisions for alimony recipients, as well as the safety valves within those provisions that protect recipients.