The family law debate over alimony and spousal support | Lane & Lane, LLC
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The family law debate over alimony and spousal support

When a married couple files for divorce, it is not uncommon for one spouse to have a better income and a better capacity to support his or herself financially. In these kinds of family law cases, New Jersey courts will often order the more financially successful spouse to pay the less affluent spouse alimony. However, in some areas of the United States, female ex-spouses are banding together, asking legislators for alimony reform.

Numerous women and men are legally required to pay ex-spouses monthly spousal support payments. As divorce figures for baby boomers continue to rise, in some family law cases, the amount of each spouse's retirement pensions may be a determining factor in an alimony case. For example, if the wife receives monthly retirement benefits or retirement income that greatly exceeds that of the husband, a judge may rule that the wife must pay the husband alimony.

One woman in Florida, for example, must provide $558 per month to her ex-husband. She is 67 years old and believes that changes in the law are necessary. She claims that it was the inadequate and irresponsible financial strategies implemented by her husband which caused him to spend all of his retirement money. She alleges that it is because of her ex-husband's irresponsibility that she is so much better off than him financially in retirement. She does not feel the fact she must pay him every month is equitable and she has since joined a political advocacy group that is fighting for reform.

Numerous ex-spouses in New Jersey are dissatisfied with their alimony arrangements as well. Each family law case is different. However, should the financial burden of meeting one's spousal support payment each month be too great for an ex-husband or an ex-wife to bear, legal strategies can be employed to petition the court for a reduction in ones monthly alimony obligations.

Source: Sun Sentinel, "Some women now pressing for changes in alimony law," Donna Gehrke-White, Aug. 3, 2013