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The great alimony reform debate -- a neccessity or a handout?

Back when divorce was uncommon, judges would grant them only in cases of broken marriage vows through infidelity or similar circumstances. Judges often used the awarding of alimony as a form of public chastisement. Now, in the era of the no-fault dissolution, there are many who question the wisdom of court-ordered spousal support. There are likely many Georgia residents who either make or receive these monies.

For decades, many divorcing spouses probably assumed one would pay and the other would receive. However, each state has a separate take on the issue and likewise different requirements. Many states have taken a long-term view and order the payer to continue paying throughout the life of the former spouse, unless or until said spouse remarries. Other states have ordered the payments for a set time period, and still others have stipulated that payments are to be made until the recipient reaches retirement age. There are yet other states where, in spite of the obvious need of one spouse, the court rarely awards spousal support.

There are those couples that will research which state is most favorable to their views and then attempt to file their divorce there. On the other hand, there are also those who allegedly try to cheat the system by continuing to collect payments fraudulently or refusing to comply at all. For these reasons, many have called for the system to be overhauled and brought into conformity with the views of the current culture.

The greatest complaint many have with the current alimony system is the awarding of lifetime support. It is believed that this leads to an over-dependence by the one receiving and an unfair burden to those who have to pay. While some states have undertaken the task of reforming this matter, it may be some time before other states follow. Georgia residents who are experiencing difficulty in these or similar matters are permitted to seek a remedy through the family court system.

Source: Time, "The Biggest Problem With Alimony", Lili A. Vasileff, Sept. 30, 2014

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