Alimony reform is back again. Will it become law? The current bill has terms that are substantially similar to the bill the Governor vetoed in 2016 because of the presumption of equal timesharing of children, but the current bill removes reference to any timesharing presumption. There are similar versions in the House and Senate.
The current bill changes all aspects of alimony dramatically, such as creating a presumption of alimony in all marriages in excess of two years. One of the purposes of the reform is to remove or limit the discretion of the court. The bill creates guidelines to provide a range for the amount and length of alimony. The bill provides 14 factors the court must use to determine where in the range of amount and length a particular case will be, such as standard of living and need to care for child, among others.
The bill provides for modification based on retirement. And if modification is based on the former spouse being in a supportive relationship, the requirement for cohabitation has been removed and the supportive relationship does not have to still exist at the time of trial, so long as it did within a year of filing the modification case.
Those are just a few highlights of the possible changes. If the bill becomes law, it will apply to all actions pending as of October 1, 2017. Also, if it becomes the law, then the statute alone is not a legal basis to seek to modify alimony.
It’s still a bill… for now.