Alimony Reform

It's that time of year. No, not the turkey or the shopping or our sad excuse for "colder" weather. It is time, once again, to discuss alimony reform!  Senate Bill 250 was introduced this past September by Sen. Tom Lee, who apparently has a personal history with family law (see articles below). His proposed bill, much like the ones before it, has drawn much criticism. There are, however, good points on  both side of this debate. In some cases, spouses have changed their position (with respect to employment) so their "better half" could advance his or her career. Without sufficient financial support this spouse, who hasn't worked in over a decade,  could now be forced to "figure it out" at end of their support which would have an expiration date. At the same time, there are plenty of smart, able bodied alimony recipients who could easily enter the work force but choose not to. The proposed alimony bill could potentially force those individuals to re-enter the workforce. The problem is, this bill is attempting to reduce this extremely important decision down to an equation or formula. Judge's will lose a lot of discretion in making case by case decisions.  Proponents of this bills might respond, "That's the point!"  

Once thing to keep in mind, pursuant to Sen. Lee's bill, spouses married less than two years are presumed to not be entitled to any alimony. Something to think about if you are acquiring debt for that expensive wedding!

Read the proposed bill here: 



How Much Will My Divorce Cost

One of the most common questions asked during an initial consultation is, "How much will this cost me?" Unfortunately, this is a difficult  if not impossible question to answer.  The vast majority of family law attorney's charge on an hourly basis.  The total amount of time needed for a particular case can depend on a number of variables, including but not limited to the complexity of the issues at hand, to what degree the parties disagree on those issues, and whether or not the parties are capable of communication. As a general rule, the less communication between the parties, the higher the attorney's fees. That being said, I can speak from experience that there are ways to keep costs down.  If the parties can agree on all the important issues and simply need guidance in formalizing the matter, a divorce can be a relatively inexpensive endeavor.  This would alleviate the need to mediate and try the case, which will save thousands of dollars in legal fees per spouse.  It does, however, takes two to tango and there are certainly instances where one unreasonable party can necessitate a trial.  Even if this is the case, there are ways in which one party may recover attorney's fees from the other.