Most people think of women as the automatic winners when it comes to alimony — but the days where women may have needed alimony in order to survive are long gone. The barriers that kept women from working outside of the home and earning a livable wage are no longer in place.
Many modern women are actually in favor of alimony reforms that could eventually eliminate permanent alimony in almost all cases and drastically reduce temporary alimony in others. They have good reason to be. While alimony is still mostly paid by high-earning ex-husbands to their ex-wives, more women than ever are finding themselves paying alimony to an ex-spouse that they feel is perfectly capable of earning his or her own living.
Marriage is the only legal contract that can place ties on the parties involved long after the contract is dissolved. Generally those ties are financial, in the form of child support and spousal support. While child support is still a very real necessity, people of both genders are questioning the reasoning behind alimony harder and harder. In many states, for example, reforms have already put a stop to lifelong alimony except in cases where the ex-spouse is genuinely disabled and became disabled during the marriage.
Florida isn’t quite there yet.
Just the same, alimony awards are shrinking rapidly. Alimony was fairly common in the 1960s, granted in one out of every four cases. Today, only about one in 10 divorces include alimony — and some states see less than that.
Attorneys are also changing their alimony strategy, seeing it as less important and a smaller bargaining chip among new divorce cases. However, that doesn’t help ex-husbands and ex-wives who were divorced in decades past when alimony was more common. Saddled with permanent alimony payments, the payer has basically two options: Wait until the payee dies or petition the court for a post-divorce modification of the payments.
If you believe that your ex-spouse is able-bodied and capable of working but is using a permanent alimony award to avoid self-support, consider talking to an attorney about how you can petition the court for a change. With the changing social attitudes about alimony, you may have a chance of success.
Source: www.leg.state.fl.us, “The 2016 Florida Statutes,” accessed July 07, 2017