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Women “more outraged” by alimony, but few states change laws

REUTERS/Beawiharta

Alimony is an old tradition, originally intended to prevent wives who depended on financial support from their husbands from being left destitute after divorce. Alimony is only awarded in about 10 percent of cases today, but many question whether alimony should be awarded at all: “There’s no other contract where the liability continues after the contract ends,” said 52-year-old dentist Tanya Williams, objecting to the idea that she should have to provide payments to her ex-husband indefinitely.

Only 3 percent of alimony recipients are male, but according to Ken Neumann of the Academy of Professional Family Mediators, it’s the women being forced to pay alimony who are most ardent about driving legislative change. “It’s unfair for men to pay it, and unfair for women to pay it. But women are much more outraged by it,” said Ken Neumann, a founder of the Academy of Professional Family Mediators.

And change has been happening: some states no longer allow alimony payments in marriages that last less than 20 years, and Massachusetts, Texas, and Kansas have begun restricting alimony to lower-earning spouses on conditional or temporary bases. As society increasingly expects both men and women to work, some predict alimony will become increasingly rare — to the point that it’s only awarded in cases of disability. But for now in most states, alimony law remains unchanged.

Read the full story at Reuters.

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