More States Considering Alimony Reform
Could alimony reform be on its way to West Virginia?
Following advantageous changes to alimony laws in favor of men’s rights in several states, such as Massachusetts and Tennessee, West Virginia will now consider adopting guidelines similar to child support for awarding spousal support.
West Virginia Supreme Court Chief Justice Margaret Workman said currently alimony awards are inconsistent and unpredictable since there is no framework for amount or duration.
Workman will create a committee, including judges and family law attorneys, to study whether alimony guidelines would be beneficial.
“Through this study, we hope to ascertain if such guidelines are needed, and whether they would reduce the costs, both financial and emotional, of the divorce process,” Workman told family court judges at the Fall Family Court Judicial Education Conference in Charleston, according to the Charleston Daily Mail.
West Virginia statutes outline roughly 20 factors judges should consider in determining the amount of alimony, if any, to be ordered, but there are no guidelines in place to suggest what amount and length of the award is appropriate. Thus, maintenance awards vary widely on a case-by-case basis depending on the judge.
A change to an alimony framework would eliminate the guesswork that often leaves men in the dark. After all, men represent 97% of alimony payers, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Momentum is shifting in favor of the paying husbands, though, as alimony reforms are taking place at both the legislative and judicial levels.
Massachusetts’ new alimony laws overhaul the state’s antiquated alimony laws that allowed lifetime alimony with no cap on the payment amount.
A ruling by the Tennessee Supreme Court overturning a financially stable, employable wife’s award of lifetime alimony illustrated a more modern approach to determining alimony that takes into account a woman’s occupation and earning capacity.
Here’s hoping West Virginia joins the trend and instills alimony guidelines that give more rights to fathers.
For more information on West Virginia and other states’ alimony laws, please visit the Dads Divorce website.
If you are interested in an alimony modification or protecting your rights in an upcoming divorce, contact the mens divorce attorneys at Cordell & Cordell.