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Capitol Dispatch: Updating Alimony a Sign of the Times?

Should the old fashioned rules of paying alimony support still be applied today? The House of Representatives discusses.

Area lawmakers will consider whether Connecticut’s alimony structure is as passé as Jell-O molds: that is to say it belongs to an era when most women didn’t work and counted on their husbands’ incomes. 

The Judiciary Committee will consider HB 5509, proposed legislation regarding how much and for just how long alimony must be paid.

According to the current language of the proposed bill, alimony is defined as a “payment of support from a spouse who has the ability to pay, to a spouse in need of support for a reasonable length of time, with the goal of allowing the spouse who is the recipient of alimony to become self-sufficient.”

State Rep. Themis Klarides, a Republican representing Woodbridge, Orange and Derby in the 114th House District, is one of the committee member’s that will hear testimony during a public hearing on the bill.

"I think the point of this, is alimony serves a valid purpose, but there are situations where it is taken advantage of," Klarides said. "To me it's fixing an inequity and updating our laws to reflect the times."

Proposed changes include ensuring that alimony awarded on or after Oct. 1, 2012, shall not exceed one-half the number of months a couple was married. The bill asks alimony awards must factor advanced age, chronic illness or unusual health for either party, sources and amounts of unearned income, including capital gains that weren’t allocated in the parties’ divorce.

In addition, legislators will consider whether the alimony recipient is living with someone in a relationship and is “economically interdependent with another person.”

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