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The argument for alimony reform rages on

States across the nation have struggled to create spousal support legislation that is both fair and balanced. That is often more difficult than it sounds, depending on which side of the issue one sits. Massachusetts residents often hear about proposed alimony reforms both within their own state of residence and beyond. It is worthwhile to pay attention to those debates, as alimony laws can and do change over time.

Those who want to see lasting alimony reform are often concerned that current laws go well beyond an acceptable level of spousal support. In fact, it can be said that they turn into a life sentence of payments for the party who is tasked with providing those checks. Many point to laws that place no limits on the length of time that a former spouse can receive alimony, and argue that such a system does nothing to encourage those spouses to take on responsibility for their own financial well-being.

In some states, alimony is limited in length to half the duration of a marriage. So, a marriage that lasted 10 years would only require five years of alimony payments. Many people believe that half of the duration of the marriage should be plenty of time to obtain job training and re-enter the workforce. Of course, there are also rules that allow for lengthier payment schedules if there were elements of abuse during the marriage.

As states continue to examine the topic of alimony reform, the debate is likely to continue. Marriage and the role of spouses within the family structure has changed significantly over recent decades, and many people believe that it is time for spousal support laws to catch up with that rate of change. For Massachusetts residents, the topic is one that could become a pressing matter in the event of a move to a different jurisdiction and a subsequent divorce.

Source: timesofsandiego.com, "Contentious Divorce: Why Spousal Support Laws Need Changing", April 17, 2017

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