On February 9, 2011 Congressman Steve Cohen from Tennessee reintroduced Jane’s Law, a bipartisan measure that was crafted to close a legal loophole that enables people to avoid paying court-orderd property distributions by crossing state lines. The measure was named after Jane Maharam, who has been fighting since 1983 to force her ex-husband to return her assets and obey court orders.

In 1983 Jane Maharam’s husband of 31 years, textile magnate Robert Maharam, ransacked their home and took all the marital assets. It got worse. The family bank accounts had been cleaned out. All the credit cards had been canceled. And Robert had secretly arranged to sell his share of the lucrative family business, Maharam Fabric Corporation, and pocket the profits himself. “I stood by him every step of the way while he built this business,” she says. “He ran off with the fruits of our marriage.”

The court determined that Robert owed Jane millions of dollars. Robert fled across state lines and never returned Jane’s assets.