Is Alimony Still a Reasonable Concept?

Guest post from US family law bloggers.

Despite the salary inequalities that still persist between men and women, many modern-day wives are working alongside their husbands. Some women even earn more. You might wonder why we still have alimony, where the ex-husband pays a monthly sum to the ex-wife. Some people argue that alimony should be a thing of the past, while others feel that it’s still an valid law.

An important point that can’t be overlooked when discussing the relevancy of alimony in today’s culture is that it is not necessarily the responsibility of the husband. Alimony is a court-ordered duty of the top earner in the marriage. The difference in the earnings of the two spouses has to be significant for alimony to be decreed. However, both historically and traditionally, the male has been the one to pay the alimony bills. Judges have consistently awarded alimony to the female, even in cases where both ex-spouses had jobs during the marriage.

Today, many family court justices are working on adapting the law so that alimony isn’t set up as an unfair burden on men, but as a fair distribution of martial property.

How did alimony come to be? In the past, women were not allowed to own property. Thus, in a marriage, all the land and property were owned solely by the husband and never the wife. And in cases of divorce, the ex-husband would keep everything and the ex-wife would be left with nothing. Alimony was established as a way for the ex-wife to be able to survive after divorce.

Obviously, the circumstances have changed today. Martial property is usually divided equally between two parties in a divorce and if there are children, the home is often given to the ex-wife on the grounds that it would be less traumatic for the kids. The more you look at it, the more it seems like alimony should become obsolete.

On the other hand, you could argue that women are still at a disadvantage after a divorce. Even today, many wives choose to leave the workforce in order to stay home and raise children. Some of them move across the country when their husband gets a new job and leave their career behind. After years and years of contributing to the marriage through raising kids, taking care of the home, and managing the finances, should these women be left with no career prospects and no monthly income when divorce happens? Alimony helps level the playing field and allows these women to continue living on as they have before.

What about husbands who took on the stay-at-home role? They probably would benefit from alimony payments from their ex-wives as much as a woman would.

An important issue to consider is whether the ex-husband should be legally required to pay alimony for the rest of his life. Should the sentence of alimony be reduced to a certain amount of years instead, with the purpose of providing support to the women until she is able to enter the workforce and earn enough money to maintain her lifestyle?

Alimony will become a much more acceptable and fair concept if it truly becomes an equal opportunity responsibility.

About the author

This piece was written by Trevor Patterson, a freelance writer and blogger based in the greater metro area of Las Vegas, Nevada. Patterson focuses on law, politics, economics and real estate. Legal needs come in various forms; for those with needs in the area of Pedestrian Accidents be sure to consult a professional with sufficient expertise in this subfield.

Flexibility in Child Custody in the Best Interests of Growing Children

(US family law and divorce generally)

Custody Should Adapt to a Child’s Changes:

Divorces in the 21st century always include a parenting plan if there are children involved. Some parents share parenting almost equally, and some utilize a week-day/week-end schedule to keep the kids going to the same schools no matter which parent has visitation. Parents who live states apart can enact a parenting plan where one parent has the kids during the school year and the other has the children during summer vacation.

No parenting plan is ideal, because “ideal,” to a child, would be for the parents to be together. But this is the real world, which is a concept that all children will learn at some point in their upbringing. Parents, though, can do a great deal to keep pick-ups and drop-offs amenable and communication civil.

Communication:

If divorced spouses can keep the lines of communication open, the children fare better. Married parents talk about their children all the time. If a divorced parent has a concern or just wants the ex-spouse to know something new about their child, he or she should be able to call the other parent. Keeping parenting the same in both homes is always better for the children.

Tender Years Doctrine:

Many states have, or are in the process of, eliminating the “tender years” doctrine. This means that instead of the presumption that it is always best for children to live with the mother, now both parents are being considered equally. This is a much fairer way to handle parenting options after divorce. Not only does it keep both parents more involved in the lives of their children, but it also levels the playing field for disputes over custody issues.

Best Interests of the Children:

In all states, crafting a parenting plan that is in the best interests of the children is the primary consideration. It may be inconvenient for both parents, but the children should always come first. However, for many divorced parents, the children are caught in the crossfire of unresolved marital issues. With a concerted effort on the part of both parents, co-parenting can be accomplished after divorce without the insinuations, sabotage and veiled threats that some parents continue to remain embroiled in. Parents don’t have to like each other; they just have to act like they like each other.

If both parents are able to live within the boundaries of the school(s) that their children attend, there is little reason that parents can’t split their parenting time 50/50. In time, the children adjust to this and regard it as normal.

When a Child Decides:

A child’s needs change as he or she gets older. For instance, when a boy is 10 or 11, he may want to live with his father. Depending upon the parenting plan, this could actually involve only slight changes on the plan to allow the child to spend more time with his dad. But, if the dad lives out of state and sees the child only in the summer, the mother may not want to become the “summer” parent. In this event, the couple will have to work with the Court and a mediator to develop a new parenting plan.

In instances such as this, the judge may actually ask the child in chambers, away from his or her parents, to learn who the child wants to live with. The judge may also appoint a psychologist to meet with the child to discuss the issue. As long as it has been determined that the child hasn’t been coerced, there’s a good chance that the parenting plan will be revised to represent the child’s preference.

About the Author

This article was written by Karl Stockton for orlandodivorcehelp.com. If a family law issue arises, contact a family lawyer to receive legal assistance.

20 of the best: family law blogs and news from the past week – March/April 2012

Below are 20 of the best family law blogs and news posts from around the web in the past week. If you have published or found a useful family law-related post that hasn’t been spotted, please do add a link to the comments section below.

Wanted: family justice narratives – Lucy Reed in the Guardian

Editor of the Pink Tape family law blog, Lucy Reed invites readers to share their experiences of working in the family justice system.

‘No good arguments against no fault divorce’, top judge says – Telegraph

Renewed calls for “no fault divorce” from Britain’s leading family law judge, Sir Nicholas Wall.

Launch of Family Law arbitration scheme marked by IFLA event – Family Law Week

On Monday 26 March 2012 the Institute of Family Law Arbitrators (IFLA) marked the launch of the new Family Law Arbitration Scheme.

Other blogs on the family law arbitration scheme:-

Family Law Arbitration in the UK – womeninlaw.com

Russell-Cooke welcomes the new Family Law Arbitration Scheme (26/03/12) – News – Russell-Cooke

Knights in shining armour? Family law arbitration rides to the rescue | jonesmyers blog

Lawrence v Gallagher [2012] EWCA Civ 394 – Family Law Week

The Court of Appeal has ruled in Lawrence v Gallagher that the division of assets in a civil partnership ‘divorce’ should be treated in a similar way to those in a heterosexual divorce.

More blogs on Lawrence v Gallagher:

Lawrence v Gallagher: Judicial creations should not be elevated to the status of s.25 criteria – Family Lore

Divorce principles to apply to civil partnership breakup – FLB

Court of Appeal cuts civil partnership ‘divorce’ settlement- Gregorian Emerson

Fifty years in family law: Staffordshire University Conference – Marilyn Stowe Blog

Marilyn visited the Staffordshire University Law School’s Annual Family Law Conference this weekend and produces a comprehensive account of the event.

New Rules for Families? – Cotswold Family Law

Discussion and comment on The Family Justice Review (“FJR”).

New family laws are divorced from reality – Tehelka

Flavia Agnes takes a look at India’s family laws in this opinion piece, noting that moves to make divorces easier may look good on paper but may end up giving a raw deal to women who are not financially independent.

Surge in demand for domestic abuse advice during Old Firm match – CBC Blog

Shelter Scotland has reported a sharp rise in the number of visits to its website from women looking for help and advice on domestic abuse following its recent Facebook advertising campaign.

Conflict and violence in families – Austin Lafferty

National charity, 4Children, has recently published the results of its research into conflict and violence in families.

You Can’t Always Get What You Want – Marshall Chambers

A lesson for litigants: answers provided by the Court may not be the answers desired by the litigant; or any of the litigants!

Rise in international child flee cases – Pannone Family Law Blog

There has been a significant rise in child abduction cases in England and Wales, as per a Report out this week by Lord Justice Thorpe, chief of the Office of the Head of International Family Justice.

Family Lore: Grubb v Grubb: “To be involved in ancillary relief litigation is a dire prospect for any husband or wife”

The report of Grubb v Grubb [2012] EWCA Civ 398, published on Bailii this week may be brief but it is not without interest. Family Lore comments.

Jennifer Brandt: Your First Meeting With A Divorce Lawyer

‘Getting a divorce is never a fun experience, but picking the right lawyer will help you cope with the process while getting a fair and equitable result’ says Jennifer Brandt. Her tips are blogged at the Huffington Post.

Mega-rich divorcees in court squabble over loose change | News.com.au

One from Australia: Having split the family’s $151,037,015 wealth with his ex-wife, a businessman realised he had overpaid and went to the Family Court to get his money back.

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10 of the best: family law blogs and news from last week

Below are ten of last week’s best family law blogs and news posts from around the web:-

The Attorney General has said that the current ban on gay and unmarried couples should remain in place until the Stormont Assembly decides otherwise.

Family Law Week presents Steve Crompton & David Kitson of RSM Tenon who review the Chancellor’s 2012 Budget announcements.

Refusal to allow a woman to adopt her same-sex partner’s child was not discriminatory according to The European Court of Human Rights’ ruling in the case of Gas and Dubois v. France.

Think-tank the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) has accused the Government of missing a chance in its latest budget to tackle the problem of family breakdown.

Some of Wales’ most vulnerable children and young people are unaware of their statutory right to an independent professional ‘voice’.

Jordan Publishing has announced the return of the Family Law Awards, which will be held on 10 October 2012.

A recent study by FindLaw.com has revealed that March sees a spike in the number of divorce queries (although January is generally thought of as “Divorce Month” by divorce lawyers).

Mills & Reeve to launch an online know-how and training package for family lawyers.

Guest family law blog summarising the Court of Appeal decision of Imerman v Tchenguiz [2010] 2 FLR 814.

Some doctors breaking the law by “pre-signing” abortion consent forms, the Government has said.

If you have published or found a useful family law-related post that hasn’t been spotted, please do add a link to the comments section below.