Changing shape of alimony laws

On behalf of Lake Toback Attorneys

Many states are considering enacting new legislation that could change the face of divorce. In particular, states are considering creating new alimony laws or reforming the ones on the book in order to eliminate permanent spousal support. This dynamic could lead to a dramatic change in divorce decrees in Illinois.

Alimony is a court-ordered provision that requires one spouse to provide for another spouse after they separate or divorce. Individual states determine the amount of payments and their duration, while a judge has some discretionary leeway. Many states allow alimony for life, but several states have tried to reform laws in recent years to eliminate. Proponents for change argue that alimony should only be paid out for a specified period of time. Individuals against reform argue that these types of changes could punish parents or spouses who gave up their careers in order to support their spouse or raise their children.

Critics of reform laws say that women are often disadvantaged due to the higher likelihood of them being the primary caregivers for children and that these women will lose funds that they desperately need. They also argue that reform laws take away the discretion of the judge by setting inflexible rules. Some reform laws also allow for retroactive changes to the alimony award but leave the rest of the divorce decree intact. This could disadvantage a spouse who gave up an asset to get a larger alimony allotment.

Illinois family law attorneys help individuals who are going through a divorce. They may be able to explain how any changes in Illinois alimony laws may affect a client. They may advise clients to take any changes in alimony laws into consideration when working on reaching a property division settlement that works for both spouses.

Source:, “Is This the End of Alimony?“, Cheryl Lock, July 01, 2013

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Changing shape of alimony laws