Should all spousal support/alimony be revoked?
No, but I wouldn’t be upset if it was largely overhauled to reflect circumstances as they are now.
Because originally wives didn’t get half the marital property in divorce, alimony was all wives (wives, not ex-wives because back then a marriage could not be dissolved, so the “wife” not the “ex-wife” received alimony on the principle that a husband had an obligation to support his wife) got. And alimony on that basis hardly seems unfair to the husband, right?
Alimony also served the purpose of preventing the wife—who back when women wives were limited in their abilities to own property, obtain an education, and ply a lucrative trade or profession—would not become a public charge after divorce.
Even today there are situations where a clear, reasonable, and equitable argument for alimony can be made. Say, for instance, a marriage in which the spouse (husband or wife) dissipated marital assets, or where a spouse’s misconduct has caused the innocent spouse to incur expenses for life (for example, if a spouse contracted a chronic STD and then passed it on to the innocent spouse, it would likely be fair to award alimony to that spouse to cover the costs of drugs and treatment; if a spouse beat a spouse so badly that he/she needed treatment going forward, that would warrant alimony; if it could be proven that a spouse prevented the other spouse from acquiring an education or from pursuing a career, that might be a basis for alimony).
But now we allow marriages to be dissolved. Why should a man no longer married to his wife have to continue to support her? Especially in an age where women can and do the same jobs men do earning the same money (don’t believe the claims that women earn less than men because of their being women; it’s bunk—if businesses could get the same work for less pay simply by hiring women, instead of men, then why would they hire men for the job?). Where did we get the idea that a duty to support continues in the absence of a marriage? And why should a man whose wife divorced him simply because she wanted a divorce (and no based upon something like adultery, desertion, willful neglect, habitual drunkeness, cruel treatment, conviction of a felony, contracting a loathsome disease) have to continue to support her? These are questions worth asking.
And more and more states are abolishing or limiting “alimony for life” laws because they simply aren’t fair in today’s world where married women can own property and have as much freedom to pursue a career as men do. Alimony laws that presume women are helpless creatures dependent upon their husband’s to survive are simply outdated and don’t reflect modern reality. Those are the alimony laws that need to change for the sake of fairness and equity both to mean and women.
Utah Family Law, LC | divorceutah.com | 801-466-9277