East Coast Embraces Alimony Reform


If you're seeking divorce advice in Pasadena, you've probably been warned about the progressive alimony and custody laws in California. California has some of the tougher and more contemporary alimony policies in the United States. Other states, particularly on the East Coast, have had the same alimony laws since the 1950s. But it looks like all of that is beginning to change.

Massachusetts, New Jersey and Florida have undergone alimony law face-lifts which have erased the old school policies that kept the states in the divorce dark ages. The common goal of the states is to get rid of lifetime alimony, a policy which is dated and nearly impossible in today's economic climate. Many of the laws were established when men worked and women stayed at home with the children, meaning costly payouts to ex-wives. These outdated laws force divorcing couples to return to divorce courts whenever circumstances change. Under this arrangement, the legal fees and divorce proceedings are never-ending, even when the marriage has been over for years.

Specifically, proposed Florida Alimony Reform, which limits alimony payments and duration, is similar to newly-passed Massachusetts laws.

"Florida's permanent alimony laws are relics from another century," says state Rep. Ritch Workman. "Too often, lifetime alimony brings payers to bankruptcy, insolvency and foreclosure."

New Jersey Alimony Reform hopes to accomplish much of the same - but neither state will see changes immediately. Massachusetts will be the first state to see the benefits of alimony reform next spring.

Huffington Post blogger Elizabeth Benedict thinks the reform is long over due.

"Citizens in Florida and New Jersey - and Massachusetts, until the new law fully takes effect in March 2012 - deserve better than this, " Benedict writes. "Way better. What happens in family court in these states is a national disgrace. But the Massachusetts Miracle has put wind in everyone's sails. The good weather might just be moving from North to South this time."