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Movement to change alimony gaining ground across America


Getting a divorce can be a difficult experience. Tempers can flare, arguments can break out, and it can be extremely hard for the parting spouses to agree on family legal issues. Child custody, child support, and spousal support will then be disputed during court hearings before a judge, who will then make the final determinations.

When it comes to alimony, a court will consider several factors before making a decision, which may include the length of the marriage, the age of the parties, each party's relative income, each party's future financial prospects and the health of the parties. While alimony laws vary from state to state, a new movement is taking shape across the country in an attempt to limit the amount of time alimony should be paid.

The movement seeks to limit alimony payments to a reasonable period of time directly linked to the length of the marriage. One woman's story, which is being used as the torch-holder of the campaign, highlights how some have taken advantage of the system. The woman, who was a nurse making $70,000 a year was ordered to pay alimony after she divorced her husband. Her monthly payments amounted to $1,200, so long as the husband was not married. The husband, however, found a new girlfriend and got engaged, but never married so that he could continue to receive alimony. As a result of the movement, several states are now considering changes to their alimony laws.

Though some people try to take advantage of the alimony system, it exists to help those who truly need and deserve support. If one spouse, for example, forwent pursuing a career and going to school so that she could take care of the children, she should be entitled to spousal support for a significant time after a divorce because her earning potential was undercut by her devotion to her family. Spousal support is not limited to women, either. Men can also receive support if an agreement can be reached between the parties or if a judge finds it fair.

An experienced Michigan Family Law attorney can help an individual going through divorce decide if alimony is obtainable. Such a determination requires careful analysis of the marriage and financial history, but a competent, understanding attorney will make the process as painless as possible.

Source: Main Street, "Is This the End of Alimony?," Cheryl Lock, July 1, 2013

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