Monday, April 7, 2008

Alimony Questions

One of the first question I am asked is usually about alimony. Do I have to pay it? Will I get it? How long? How much? Why should I pay alimony if I don’t want the divorce? These are difficult questions. Alimony varies from state to state. The Spring 2003 issue of the Family Advocate has an article by Virginia Dugan and Jon Feder which reviews alimony guidelines in many states. I was always amazed to read that "Texas requires a 10-year marriage for post divorce maintenance except in the case of disability. Support is limited to $2,500 per month for a period not to exceed three years." The underlying question is what is the purpose of alimony? The American Law Institute’s Principles of the Law of Family Dissolution: Analysis and Recommendations is an excellent scholarly discussion of many divorce law issues, including alimony. It seems to say that current purpose of alimony should be compensatory. A spouse should be put in the same position he or she would have been if he or she had not married. But it also says that the spouse should be compensated for his or her work in increasing or decreasing the wealth of the couple. The historic notion of alimony being punitive or having the spouse being maintained in the life style he or she was accustomed to is less prevalent. In the end I have found it is either up to the judge to decide by his or her own formula or for the couple to decide what is acceptable. Read our next blog on men receiving alimony and Wall Street Journal article at As always, you can post a comment about this blog, Divorce Mediation, or Tucson Arizona by following the directions at the right in the green column or at the bottom of this website or participate in our Presidential poll located below the directions. WM 4/7/08

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