More on Alimony Reform…

On June 6 I attended a lively meeting in Westport regarding the reform of CT alimony statutes. The meeting was hosted by the organization CT Alimony Reform (CTAR). It was interesting to hear their perspective on the various problems with the current system. I think everyone agreed that the family courts are overwhelmed and essentially broken.

My take from the meeting is that the organization is pushing hard to provide relief for the alimony payer. I strongly agree that there have been some horrible decisions made that create devastating hardships for the breadwinner of a divorce. However, there are also many occasions where the opposite is true.

Some of the proposals the group has presented include limiting alimony duration to half the length of the marriage and capping the amount to 35% of combined gross income. There are deviation criteria to account for extenuating circumstances such as health issues, tax considerations, unearned income sources and several others. One of the arguments against this bill is that there will be just as much litigation over the deviation criteria. That of course is speculation, so it may or may not be a valid point.

I agree with the group that something needs to be done about the CT alimony statutes, but I think they should slow down and engage the divorce professionals that see both sides on a regular basis. We all want a better system and more consistency with regard to alimony awards, but rushing in with a one-sided solution is probably not the answer. I look forward to a continuing dialogue with this group and hope that one day we will improve the divorce process in CT as a joint effort.

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