I hope you are enjoying our belated summer weather as much as I have been. I missed posting last week because I couldn’t drag myself out of my garden to sit at the computer.
It looks like alimony reform is almost here!
The next legislative steps appear pretty certain and those in the know (not me) seem to be anticipating passage in the current legislative session, which ends with June. The bill was due to be debated today, it is already out of the judiciary committee, but debate on the floor was delayed due to efforts to help the folks in Springfield.
The act makes a lengthy and complex change in the law, which will trigger a lot of modification cases. It will also cause a lot of unexpected litigation, as payors attempt to prove their exes are cohabiting.
I think that an unanticipated side effect will be a surge in divorce filings, as the bill contains drop dead times when filing for divorce later rather than sooner, will result in paying alimony longer.
But there is a law of unintended consequences. Any time the legislature or the courts change the way families are dissolved there are abiding socioeconomic consequences that have usually not been considered. There will immediately be a number of older alimony recipients who have made certain plans for retirement and whose lives will be undoubtedly disrupted. I am old enough to have seen the drastic socioeconomic results of the passage of the no fault divorce laws. Women’s post-divorce economic standing dropped considerably, the numbers of divorces increased, and as a result, the status of children was affected.
I have no doubt that many situations for both genders will be improved by passage of this bill. Women are second wives as well as first wives, women as well as men pay alimony. Divorce lawyers, myself included, are already using the proposed law to try to settle cases. The real effects will not be visible for years to come.