Alimony Laws: Is it Time for Change?

There is nothing divorced spouses hate more than paying alimony (well, except perhaps paying their ex’s attorney’s fees).

In the current recession, it is said that the high unemployment rates are impacting working men disproportionately. In the overwhelming majority of cases, men are the ones who pay alimony (although women are increasingly getting their turn these days).

The weak economy coupled with what many perceive as unfair alimony laws have spurred significant anti-alimony activism and large numbers of downward modification proceedings.

Many argue that lifetime or permanent alimony is outmoded in an era when most women work except when their children are very young. Others argue that women still generally earn less than men and make more career sacrifices in most marriages.

Another bone of contention is the amount of alimony payments. In many states, judges have very wide discretion, resulting in unpredictability and inconsistency.

Permanent alimony in long term marriages is commonplace in Florida and there are no formulas or concrete guidelines for calculating the amount.

Read more in this Wall Street Journal Juggle column: As Women Earn More, Alimony Laws Lag Behind.