Should Alimony Laws Be Changed in the USA?

Should Alimony Laws Be Changed in the USA?

Spousal support, or alimony as it is commonly called, is a rather contentious topic in the USA, especially among those currently paying it or receiving it. Whether spousal support is awarded following the dissolution of a marriage depends on several factors including the standard of living that was established during the marriage and the ability of each party to maintain that standard based on their potential of self-support.

Other factors are also involved including contributions made to the other party’s education, training etc., whether domestic violence was present, the ability of the receiving party to maintain employment without sacrificing commitment to children, among many other factors.

A spousal support order may be permanent, temporary or rehabilitative. Permanent orders are fulfilled until the receiving spouse remarries, the paying spouse dies or some other order issued by the court. A temporary order must be fulfilled during the divorce until the agreement terminates it or is terminated by law. Rehabilitative orders are typically intended to help the supported spouse become self-sufficient. These may last until an event such as graduation occurs, or after a certain period of time.

Israel, for instance, does not award alimony. Period. Some do not agree with the awarding of alimony, however, as many argue that once a marriage is over, the parties’ responsibility to each other ends save for their responsibility to their children, if they have any.

Some argue that changes must be made to alimony laws in the USA such as limiting the length of the spousal support order to reflect the length of the marriage, putting an overall cap on the length of time that spousal support may be paid, terminating the order if the receiving spouse begins living with an adult in a romantic relationship or to limiting the ability of the receiving spouse to share the supporting spouse’s military retirement pay or other pensions.

Advocates of changing the laws argue that our society has changed a great deal since the laws were first enacted and these days both partners are typically employed and reasonably able to support themselves following the dissolution of the marriage.