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The attitude of family law toward alimony is changing

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

As many in Texas know, how women are viewed by society has changed significantly over the course of the last 60 years. Whereas women were traditionally expected to get married and stay at home and care for children, now more women are attending college and earning degrees. In some cases, men are opting to stay at home and care for children. With that shift, the way women are treated in family law proceedings is also starting to shift, specifically in how alimony is handled.

In the past, it has not been unusual for women to be awarded alimony. Many gave up careers to care for children, and at the time of a divorce, many had been out of the workforce for several years and may have had few skills and training. However, that is less the case in today's world. Many courts view the decision to leave the workforce as a marital one that needs to be revisited in the event the marriage is ending. With the new views, a woman is likely to be expected to re-enter the workforce instead of being awarded alimony.

Many states are starting to look into reforming the way alimony is awarded. For example, limits are being place on the length of time it is to be paid. Additionally, some states are making an effort to standardize the way the amount is determined. As with most things in life, there are some exceptions that must be considered, including situations involving a spouse who is at a significant economic disadvantage or when a parent gave up a job to care for a disabled child who will continue to require care into adulthood.

Because laws and attitudes about divorce and other family law issues vary from state to state, it is important that people in Texas seek guidance from those with experience concerning state laws. Each family has unique circumstances. A family law attorney can provide support to understand each individual situation and provide guidance based on what a client needs in a particular situation.

Source: Forbes, "Stay-at-Home Mom Facing Divorce? Don't Expect Alimony", Emma Johnson, Oct. 27, 2014

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