Congressmen Poe and Cohen Introduce Jane's Law

Yesterday, Congressman Steve Cohen (D-TN) and I introduced H.R. 2829, “Jane’s Law.” This bipartisan legislation works to close loopholes that allow individuals to cross state lines after a divorce or separation proceeding in order to avoid paying court-ordered distributions.

The bill’s namesake, Jane Maharam, knew the realities of this all too well. Her husband of 31 years, Robert Maharam, raided their New York home and stole marital assets like money, investments and furnishings. After a 15-year court battle, the court ordered that Robert return millions of dollars back to Jane. However, instead of returning the assets, Robert fled across state lines. As long as he did not return back to New York, Jane will would never see any of what he owed her because the warrant for Robert’s arrest could not be enforced over state lines.

Jane Maharam was left with nothing when her husband snuck off into the night, forcing her to rely on public assistance. There are many spouses, like Jane, who find themselves victims of such injustice. Jane’s Law takes a much-needed step forward providing Federal enforcement to retrieve stolen marital property, illegally taken across State lines. No longer will lowlifes be allowed to outrun the law. Much like the ways child support legislation works, under Jane’s Law, fleeing to avoid payment is a federal crime. It is time to put a stop to this shameful practice.

“Too many Americans find themselves in the same shoes Jane Maharam was in more than 2 decades ago,” said Congressman Cohen. “By fleeing the state, her ex-husband escaped his legal responsibilities and the courts were unable to enforce the law. It is time we close that loophole and ensure women in similar situations get the justice they deserve.”

Co-Chairman of the Victims’ Rights Caucus, Congressman Jim Costa (D-CA) also co-sponsored the legislation. “Ex-spouses who intentionally and deliberately flee their state to evade payment are breaking the law, plain and simple,” said Congressman Costa. “We cannot let these offenders evade justice as well. Jane’s Law is an important step in dismantling the wall of legal technicalities offenders have been hiding behind for years.”


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