DadsDivorce Live: Overhaul Alimony

child alimonyMassachusetts is the latest state to enact sweeping changes to its archaic alimony laws, as alimony reform movements are gaining momentum around the country.

Both houses of the Massachusetts legislature unanimously voted to change the alimony laws, which put an end to lifetime alimony obligations and a cap on payments based on the duration of a marriage.

One of the forces behind the alimony reform movement is Elizabeth Benedict, a novelist and journalist whose op-ed piece in the Boston Globe in 2008 helped moved forward the alimony reform movement in Massachusetts.

Benedict talked with DadsDivorce.com editor Matt Allen about “medieval” alimony laws and what other states are in desperate need of reform. (Note: you can learn more about alimony reform movements in various states by visiting the sites MassAlimonyReform.org and FloridaAlimonyReform.com.)

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8 comments on “DadsDivorce Live: Overhaul Alimony

    concerned Citizen
    Please tell states to stop awarding life-time alimony. It creates resentments that shatter families and it cripples the payer, who often cannot move on with his own life because he cannot afford to cover his own basic needs. I am taking a position on this because I’ve heard too many sad stories of (mostly) men who have to move from their states, face bankruptcy and leave their families behind because they’ve lost their jobs and states are not giving them relief from alimony payments. I also think it’s time the States give lesser earning spouses opportunities to become re-introduced into the workplace, rather than incentivizing them to remain on ex-spouse funded welfare. Please sign this petition: http://www.change.org/petitions/nj-ct-and-ny-please-stop-driving-away-divorced-dads

    The Florida Supreme Court has ruled that married people are financially independants (Southwest v. Conners if I remember correctly). How can they be ruled financial dependants once divorced? Look up and read the 13th amendment covering involuntary servitude and tell me it is not exactly the same as permanent alimony. Permanent alimony laws only enrich the family law attorneys. Generally the receiver cannot work or remarry or they lose their “entitlement”. The payor can never retire and just work until they die. And worst of all they enable the parents to brainwash the children against the other parent. We need reform. Thanks to Elizabeth Benedict and Matt Allen for bringing awareness.

    What is divorce
    Divorce means that two people do not have to remain bound to each other until the grave, as society dictated until the 20th century. Divorce means that human beings can determine the path their life will take. And at its very root, divorce provides for that most crucial, most valuable of human experiences: happiness.
    However, when divorce becomes freedom for one party while the other party is legally forced into a lifetime of alimony payments, that can only be seen as granting one person a divorce. The current laws in the state of Florida are not only outdated and extremely gender biased but unconstitutional.
    I would thank you Matt Allen for giving this issue some publicity and to Elizabeth Benedict for helping to bring about some positive changes. We have a long way to go in Florida to bring about fairness and changes in the laws that will truly grant each party a divorce.

    Not only are the laws archaic, but encourage the lawyers to have the petitioner in no fault divorces flat out lie. My ex’x attorney told her not to seek full time employment during the course of the divorce because it would Benefit her more if she were only working part time”. I will just say it like it is, I don’t think anybody on earth deserves to be tortured, shot and done away with more so than divorce lawyers, and yes the laws are in dire need of change as well. Seems the emancipation proclamation does not apply to people who pay alimony. nor does the 13th ammendment.

    What are we teaching our children?
    My ex-wife is a second generation permanent alimony recipient. (I’ve forgiven myself.)

    Psychologist Recommends Removing The Promise of Life Long Alimony
     
    “From a behavioral standpoint, if the promise for life-long alimony is removed, non-cooperative spouses may suddenly find themselves trying harder to hold their marriages together through appropriate marital behavior which would help the “family preservation act” by leading to more intact families.  Also some X’s may elect to marry again, creating more family units–versus single parent homes.”
        
     Dianne Joyce, PsyD  

    Responsible and Loving Dad
    Thank you Matt Allen for posting this article and for bringing awareness to the Alimony problem that exists in Florida. And thank you Elizabeth Benedict for all your hard work and standing up for what is RIGHT and JUST. The fact is that many good dads in Florida are being financially strangled by having to pay alimony payments for life. The dads have to pay the alimony, or face going to jail, even if it means they can’t afford to go to a movie with his child. When I tried to get a modification of alimony in Broward County, FL, the female judge told me that my “legal financial obligation” was to my ex-wife and not to my son. In other words, the judge implied that I must continue to support my ex-wife before I support my son. That sounds crazy to any parent but it is the reality in Florida.

    Responsible and Loving Dad
    Thank you Matt Allen for posting this article and for bringing awareness to the Alimony problem that exists in Florida. And thank you Elizabeth Benedict for all your hard work and standing up for what is RIGHT and JUST. The fact is that many good dads in Florida are being financially strangled by having to pay alimony payments for life. The dads have to pay the alimony, or face going to jail, even if it means they can’t afford to go to a movie with his child. When I tried to get a modification of alimony in Broward County, FL, the female judge told me that my “legal financial obligation” was to my ex-wife and not to my son. In other words, the judge implied that I must continue to support my ex-wife before I support my son. That sounds crazy to any parent but it is the reality in Florida.

    Nice interview.

    Ms. Benedict left out Colorado as one of the states that routinely orders lifetime alimony and which desperately needs reform.

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