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Alimony on national radar in neighboring state today

We have noted in prior select posts that Georgia differs from a number of states in how its judges construe and award alimony following divorce.

Alimony (or spousal support) is certainly a judicial remedy in Georgia and awarded in some cases, but, generally, it is not perceived as being widely available. In fact, and unlike child support, for which firm state guidelines are in place, the factors that are judicially considered regarding alimony are many and highly subjective. Given that, securing representation from a family law attorney highly experienced in alimony matters can make a material difference in a spousal support outcome.

Alimony is in flux in a number of states across the country, with both advocates and critics voicing sharp and diverging opinions on the subject. Those in favor of maintaining strong and protective alimony laws often say that doing so is necessary to address the economic disparity that exists between couples in marriage. They often cite the example of a husband who worked outside the home and established a well-paying career, while the wife sacrificed the chance to do so in lieu of staying home with the kids and being a homemaker. Following divorce, alimony advocates say, the woman needs continuing assistance from her former spouse, sometimes permanently.

Critics say that such a viewpoint is generally anachronistic and more applicable to previous generations, given that millions of women now work outside the home and make as much or money as do their former spouses. In such as case, they argue, alimony is a punitive device.

There is a strong anti-alimony lobby in neighboring Florida, especially critics of permanent alimony. A bill that they favored, and which passed both legislative bodies, was vetoed just yesterday by that state's governor.

"You haven't heard the last of it," says one close observer and commentator.

Passage of the bill would have made Florida the fifth state to abolish permanent alimony.

Source: Fox News, "Florida Gov. Scott vetoes bill that would end permanent alimony in state," May 2, 2013

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