Alimony reform groups are popping up across the map. Leaders of these groups claim that alimony payments– as they are currently enshrined in the law in many states – are outdated. They are a thing of the past, these groups argue, a past where wives were stay-at-home mothers and husbands worked nine-to-five to earn for the family.
In a world where wives are housewives and husbands are breadwinners, alimony payments that stretch on for years (where the ex-husband pays the ex-wife) might make sense.
But alimony reform groups say that times have changed. Many women are the breadwinners now, or out-earn their husbands, so when divorce happens, it doesn’t always make sense for the ex-husband to pay alimony to the ex-wife for years.
Jennifer Ludden writing for NPR says: “Reformers say they seek guidelines and clarity in a process that can feel arbitrary.”
Ludden is quick to point out that not all divorce cases end the same. Not all ex-husbands pay their ex-wives a lifetime in alimony (also known as spousal support). If the spouses earn roughly equally, there may not be any alimony in the divorce papers. Or if the ex-wife earns more than the ex-husband, there may very well be alimony payments going from the ex-wife to the ex-husband.