Is alimony still necessary?

Is alimony necessary? Do people in this day and age really need assistance after a divorce? The short answer is yes, and there are several reasons for that.

Alimony aids those with low or no personal income to get on their feet after a divorce. It can be temporary or permanent, and it gives someone who has spent time as a homemaker or a lower-wage earner in the relationship a chance to catch up and live reasonably after the divorce. Alimony isn't necessarily paid by the male every time; it usually is paid by the spouse who earns more.

Alimony is designed to make sure the person with fewer means is able to access lodging, food, clothing and other necessities following a divorce. Some people today think that's unnecessary, particularly in cases where both people were working through the marriage. Sometimes, it's true that neither person really needs alimony, and sometimes alimony helps fill in a gap that one spouse faces financially.

Neither party should come out of a marriage losing something. Instead, to make things equal, it's important to retain alimony for the lower-earning spouse. It helps take the burden off that person and encourages him or her to take the steps needed to secure better work or schooling.

It is no longer the case that a woman is always provided for with alimony, and a woman who earns as much or more than her husband may find that she is the one paying out. In any case, once a spouse can earn appropriately, the courts will usually stop the alimony requirement. For example, a court might order alimony for two years, the amount of time it would take to finish one spouse's degree or to secure work.

Your attorney can help you negotiate for alimony or help you negotiate a fair amount that you have to pay. This is not meant to be an unfair situation, so finding the right balance is key.

Source: The Huffington Post, "Is Alimony Still Necessary?," Kristen Houghton, accessed Jan. 20, 2017

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