Wife No. 2 Paying for Wife No. 1? Join the Club

Both the 2nd Wives Club and Mass Alimony Reform are pushing for a bill that would include a number of reforms to state alimony laws, including preventing a judge from considering a second spouse's income and assets when making changes to alimony.

Squillante said the Massachusetts bar opposes the bill, saying it would hamper judges' discretion and could create unintended consequences. State Sen. Cynthia Creem, a family lawyer who has called for a commission to study alimony reform, questions what should happen to alimony recipients if their ex-husbands decide to quit working entirely and rely on their new spouses instead. (Steve Hitner said the bill backed by his group would allow such situations to be judged on a case-by-case basis.)

In the meantime, some women say they're doing what Scanlan and Hitner only wish they had done -- they're not getting married in Massachusetts and avoiding the alimony issue altogether. The 2nd Wives Club said its membership increasingly includes such women, too.

Elizabeth Benedict is a New Yorker who has dated a divorced Massachusetts man since 1999. A supporter of the 2nd Wives Club, Benedict said she decided against marriage years ago, on the advice of several lawyers.

"I decided that if I was going to get married," she said. "I was not going to then invite a lawsuit as a wedding present."

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