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'Alimony for life' makes moving on after a divorce difficult

When a marriage ends in divorce, there are many issues to be determined, including property division and parenting plans. One concern near the top of people's minds is spousal support--will one spouse have to pay alimony to the other? Unfortunately for some divorced people, this is an issue that goes on and on, long after the marriage is over.

In one documented case, a man being cared for full-time by his second wife, and who is in the advanced stages of Alzheimer's disease, is still legally required to pay more than $25,000 per year in spousal support to his ex-wife, a college professor. The couple divorced in 1997, but courts have said that the man is on the hook for the payments indefinitely.

Some states are now considering the issue of limiting the duration of alimony. Many laws are several decades old, dating to times when women often did not have jobs outside the home and divorce was relatively rare. Since then, in about the last 30 years, the percentage of women in the workforce, as well as their relative earning power, has increased.

Those who have been ordered to pay lifetime alimony often complain that it enables their former spouses to collect money from them rather than support themselves. However, opponents of changing the rules say that the current standards protect those people who legitimately aren't able to support themselves, such as those with limited educations or employable skills.

People in Texas who are considering a divorce may be well-served by consulting with an experienced divorce attorney to help them explore their options and advocate for them.

Source: USA Today, "Should alimony laws be changed?" Yamiche Alcindor, Jan. 5, 2012

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Attorney Christine K. Lincoln

Christine K. Lincoln offers sound counsel and legal services to protect clients and their families facing divorce and other family disputes.

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