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States contemplating alimony reform

Florida couples contemplating getting a divorce might be interested to learn that some states are contemplating changing their alimony laws. Alimony comes into play when one spouse is ordered to make payments to the other spouse after they are divorced. Traditionally, when a spouse was ordered by the court to make payments to his or her ex, those payments lasted for the rest of his or her life. Some states are debating whether or not to change alimony laws to where lifetime alimony would be abandoned in favor of alimony calculated with special formulas that would determine how much alimony a spouse would have to pay and for how long.

Massachusetts already reformed its laws concerning alimony in 2012. New York is trying to change its laws, and New Jersey is contemplating changing its laws as well. Florida recently attempted to change its alimony laws, but its bill was vetoed by the governor.

People who support reform say that lifetime alimony is no longer necessary since many families are now dual-income families. However, people who oppose reform say that it is unfair to take away lifetime alimony from people who gave up their opportunities to have careers so that they could stay at home and care for the home and children while the other spouse went out and pursued a career.

Until Florida's proposed reforms are successful, lifetime alimony will continue to figure into many divorce settlements in the state. A family law attorney might be able to help couples who are getting a divorce work through tough issues like alimony and help them negotiate issues like division of property, child custody and child support. They could also be able to help couples come to agreements that they can both consent to without having to have a contentious battle in divorce court.

Source: MainStreet.com, "Is This the End of Alimony?", Cheryl Lock, July 01, 2013