Should Minnesota end permanent alimony? - KMSP-TV

Should Minnesota end permanent alimony?

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MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) -

When it comes to divorce proceedings, alimony is often the most contentious issue. And in every state but one -- Massachusetts -- that alimony can be permanent.

Alimony means the spouse with the higher income will have to make payments to the spouse with the lower income to match the lifestyle to which both parties have become accustomed.

But, many states are looking at changing their laws to take away the permanent nature of alimony. Florida is following Massachusetts' lead and is close to becoming the second state to end permanent alimony.

A bill there end permanent alimony payments, and enable the courts to modify some existing arrangements between ex-spouses. It would also prevent alimony payments from lasting more than half the length of the marriage.

The size of an alimony check would be capped based on the payer's salary and most payers could stop making payments after they retire.

It passed overwhelmingly in both chambers -- in the House 85-31 and in the Senate 29-11. Now, it's up to the governor to sign the legislation, but he's getting lobbied hard by some advocacy groups to veto it.

Those groups say this is not in the best interest of children and families. They argue that people have made financial decisions presuming that they would receive alimony and to change that would be unfair.

But, those in favor of the legislation say this puts men and women on an equal playing field and makes the divorce process fairer.

"Thank you very much, I don't need anyone to take care of me," said Rep. Elizabeth Porter, from Lake City. "I guess I just come from a line of strong women, and I believe that's how we need to be raising our daughters. Let's raise strong women. Let's not say someone needs to take care of us for the rest of our lives."

Family law attorneys also argue reform measures are more harmful to women. A typical woman's standard of living falls 70 percent post-divorce. Meanwhile, her ex-husband sees a 42 percent rise in his standard of living.

Does this have a chance of coming to Minnesota? Is it being talked about and being lobbied to lawmakers?

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