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Understanding problems with alimony and possible solutions

Money is a common theme in disputes among married couples in New Mexico and elsewhere. It is also a common argument in the event of a divorce. When a spouse seeks a divorce, they might also seek alimony payments. While spousal support is often sought to fix financial issues, it could lead to bigger problems if it is not properly addressed and agreed to.

The world of alimony has greatly changed over the past few decades. In the past, alimony was treated as a way to right a wrong and proved to be a right of a spouse that was wronged in the marriage or divorce. But now under the no-fault divorce laws that are available in all 50 states, alimony has become conditional based on both statutory factors and case law.

This presents additional challenges such as taking steps to measure the economic inequality that follows dissolution and how to rectify it. This means establishing whether financial support is appropriate, and if it is, what amount and for how long would be appropriate in the given situation. Unfortunately, unlike child support, there is no standard formula for alimony amounts and duration. In addition, divorce cases with similar facts have very diverse results.

Because the vast disparities in cases, more and more states are considering adopting some form of alimony guidelines or a formula to determine temporary spousal support. In some states they have gone a step further, suggesting the abolishment of alimony altogether.

While the idea of alimony reform spreads from state to state, divorcing couples struggling with alimony issues should understand the steps they can take to assess the situation. This could help them achieve a more amicable divorce agreement and avoid potential post-divorce issues.

Source: Time, "Alimony Is Broken - But Let's Not Fix It," Lili A. Vasileff, Accessed on Dec. 21, 2014

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