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Chandra E. Miller

A Northern California Family Law Firm

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The evolution of alimony

| Nov 18, 2015 | High Asset Divorce

Alimony, or spousal support from the higher-earning former spouse towards the lower-earning one, is an issue that some divorcing couples have to deal with. Though it has decreased in use over the years, it is still a part of the divorce process that many people who have to pay alimony consider unfair. California residents who are divorcing or separating might be interested in knowing how attitudes about alimony have changed over the years and how this is affecting cases.

In the 1970s, the Supreme Court ruled that alimony had to be applied equally to both genders. However, alimony is still mostly paid by men toward women, with only about 3 percent of the people receiving alimony being men. Since women find themselves paying alimony now, they have also become more involved in demanding reform in alimony cases.

Alimony has decreased from about 25 percent of the divorce cases in the 1960’s to about 10 percent of cases in the present day and has lost social and legal support. In most of the cases where alimony comes up, spouses negotiate and settle out of court, since it is not really a strong bargaining tool. However, most people who have been ordered to pay have little hope that their cases will be reevaluated and they will have to stop paying. Currently, many states are in the process of reforming their rules on alimony, with some creating tough restrictions.

Some experts predict that alimony will become rarer and rarer, until it is only issued to spouses who have a true disability and cannot support themselves. The idea is that most people can work and support themselves, and in some cases, alimony is only awarded while the person gets back on track financially or completes higher education. A family law attorney can provide insight on this matter to a client who is facing the end of a marriage.