Debate Over Alimony Heats Up Nationwide

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 Leaders of these groups claim that alimony payments– as they are currently enshrined in the law in many states – are outdated.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.

Source: Alimony Till Death Do Us Part? Nay, Say Some Ex-Spouses