Costa Continues Fighting for Victims Rights, Introduces 'Jane's Law' Legislation

Aug 30, 2019
Press Release

(WASHINGTON) – Congressman Jim Costa (CA-16), founder and Co-Chair of the Victims’ Rights Caucus, introduced H.R. 4203, Janes Law. This important piece of legislation works to close loopholes that allow individuals to deliberately cross state lines after a divorce or separation in order to avoid paying court-ordered distributions.

Modeled after the Child Support Enforcement Act of 1984, Janes Law originates from the story of Jana Maharam, who knew the realities of this all too well. In 1983, Robert Maharam, Jane’s husband of 31 years, raided their New York home and stole marital assets such as money, furnishings and investments. After a 15-year court battle, Robert Maharam was ordered to return millions of dollars to Jane. Instead, he fled across state lines to avoid payment: so long as he did not return to New York, Jane would never see any of what Robert owed to her because an arrest warrant could not be enforced over state lines.

“Many women like Jane find themselves at the mercy of their ex-spouses or partners,” said Costa. “This law provides victims the ability to take back what is owed to them. Evaders are criminals in every sense of the word, and we cannot allow them to hide behind these technicalities that have existed for years.”

Janes Law would make the act of fleeing over state lines to avoid paying court-ordered distribution of property and/or assets over $5000 a federal crime. It would also require the spouse who fled to pay the full amount of the previously determined settlement.