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Is permanent alimony over?

Four states have made attempts to change alimony laws within recent years. Primarily, the advocates for changing the family laws related to alimony are concerned with the existence of permanent alimony, which can seem like a life sentence to some Colorado spouses. Permanent alimony can mean that one person is left financially responsible for another for the rest of that person's life.

Alimony is intended to provide a spouse with some income that is awarded outside of the parameters of child support. This money can be used to support an ex-spouse. The amount of alimony and the number of years that the other spouse has to pay are based on the laws of the state where the alimony is awarded. A judge also has the discretion to award alimony. One of the arguments against reforming alimony laws is that new formulas are taking the place of the discretion of a judge.

Individuals who support alimony reform argue that one spouse should not be required to provide for another spouse for a lifetime. In one case, a woman was ordered to pay monthly alimony to a spouse who earned less than she did, who cheated on her, left her for another woman and was cohabitating with that woman. Under the alimony payer's state laws, she would be required to continue to pay alimony until her ex-husband actually remarried. Those against reform say that women will be harmed most because they gave up their careers to support their husbands or to raise their children. These individuals may need funds to help support themselves and may have difficulty finding adequate employment after years out of the workforce.

Colorado family law attorneys can request alimony when a spouse is getting a divorce. They may be able to explain any changes in alimony laws that could affect the case.

Source: MainStreet.com, "Is This the End of Alimony?", Cheryl Lock, July 01, 2013

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