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The alimony debate rages and it may continue in other states

States across the nation are considering changes to alimony laws as society begins to realize that the norm of a stay-at-home mom is fading. Though legal reform for alimony is not being spotlighted in Ohio now, it may be in the future. And this is due in part to the fact that, according to reports, the number of males and females in the workforce is about equal. This means that in some cases, spousal support may not be required for the length of time that some judges are suggesting: a lifetime.

In one such situation, a man working as a college professor was married for 20 years. His female counterpart acquired a doctorate at some point during the relationship and began generating as much income as he was. But at some point, she decided that she would start her own psychology practice, taking a major hit in her income. Then, the couple got divorced. Despite her earning potential, the husband was required to make alimony payments to her on a permanent basis. He thought this was unfair and now heads a group that is a major part of the alimony reform movement.

One of the states that has recently gone through with alimony reform has seen changes that include formulas for spousal support based on a number of factors, including the length of the marriage. Other reformers want parameters that address retirement included in legislation so that a payer does not have to worry about making payments during a time that may be financially stressful. But there is also a story about retirement from the other side: What are recipients of spousal support to do when they retire and the payments suddenly stop?

The two camps in this debate are battling it out, both with understandable qualms. Regardless of what side you are on, an attorney should be asked about any matter that addresses spousal support.

Source:  NPR, "Alimony Till Death Do Us Part? Nay, Say Some Ex-Spouses" Jennifer Ludden, May. 28, 2013

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