All across the country, states are questioning whether or not alimony laws should be changed. Will this debate also make its way to Georgia?
This fall changes were made to alimony laws in Massachusetts. Under the new laws, alimony will vary depending on how long a couple was married and their incomes. Additionally, alimony payments can be modified in the future, and even terminated if the recipient has a new partner or reaches retirement. The new laws go into effect in March.
The alimony debate is heating up in other states as well, such as Florida, Connecticut, New Jersey, Virginia, Arkansas, North Carolina and South Carolina.
Proponents believe that most alimony laws were written a long time ago, and do not take into consideration what a marriage looks like in the 21st century. Nowadays, more women are in the workforce and they have higher incomes.
However, some opponents to the proposed changes in alimony laws are concerned that women over the age of 50 who do not work may be left in a difficult situation.
Others argue that the changes would limit a judge's discretion in determining alimony.
Additionally, some are concerned that people would remain in unhealthy relationships simply to gain more alimony after the marriage does end.
One woman in Florida is in favor of the changes. Her husband suffers from Alzheimer's, yet is still required to pay $25,200 a year in alimony to his ex-wife despite being unable to live a normal life himself. If the alimony payments were terminated, the man's wife would be able to put aside more money for his medical care.
Currently in Georgia, there are no guidelines for determining alimony. If the alimony laws were to change, a set of guidelines would likely determine the amount of spousal support that should be paid.