Ohio residents could eventually see change in alimony guidelines

Ohio residents who are in the middle of a divorce, are currently seeking a divorce, or have been divorced understand that alimony is an issue that can cause a lot of stress. Alimony payments are typically made in an attempt to help a nonworking spouse after a divorce. It can also be awarded to a spouse who makes less than the other and needs some financial help after the separation.

But one state may pass a law that could change the way alimony is awarded and in turn effect a change that could impact more states across the nation.

The piece of legislation has already passed in the state's House and is set to go before the Senate for a vote. If it passes, it will prohibit the award of lifetime alimony. This proposed law arose after alimony guidelines were attacked for being too outdated.

In fact, other states have taken steps to make changes in their alimony guidelines in order to take into account both genders, employment opportunities available, and the economic crisis. The spouse ordered to make alimony payments for life may think that it is unfair, especially if the receiving spouse could support themselves financially. The question becomes: should lifetime alimony even be an option?

Alimony is intended to help a spouse, particularly if they gave up a career in order to help raise a family regardless of whether it was the husband or wife. After a divorce, the nonworking spouse has been out of the job market for a while and is now competing with many more individuals who are unemployed and have the same or even more experience. Should alimony payments end once that spouse finds a job and has an income?

What about income disparity? Should the spouse with the higher income be required to pay alimony to the other spouse, even if the other spouse's income is more than enough to live on? How strict should alimony guidelines be?

Until the bill passes, it will be unclear how prohibiting lifetime alimony payments will impact divorces in that particular state. But if it does pass, how much longer will it be until other states follow suit?

Source: The Wall Street Journal: "Should States Impose Firmer Limits on Alimony Payments?" Nathan Koppel, July 28, 2011.

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