SOURCE: Connecticut Alimony Reform

March 13, 2012 17:13 ET

Connecticut Alimony Reform Praises Bill to Update Alimony and Reduce Divorce Costs and Family Conflict

HARTFORD, CT--(Marketwire - Mar 13, 2012) - Following a national trend toward updating alimony laws for the 21st century, a Connecticut advocacy organization endorses a new bill that would bring structure and predictability to alimony award decisions. Currently, there are no guidelines in Connecticut law to help divorcing couples or judges award alimony, which is widely considered the most contentious issue in divorce. Without guidelines, awards vary wildly from judge to judge, and county to county. Each case is decided anew, encouraging conflict and litigation instead of settlement.

Following Mass Alimony Reform (MAR), a grassroots organization that drove the effort to revise Massachusetts' antiquated alimony laws, a group of Connecticut men and women recently formed Connecticut Alimony Reform (CTAR). The group has taken the lead in advancing the need for structure, predictability, and consistency in alimony awards and in modifications, when parties return to court long after divorce in order to plead for lower or higher payments when circumstances change.

"Connecticut alimony laws are in desperate need of attention," said David Conway, 60, a CTAR board member in Fairfield. "Alimony is an important element of a divorce if it's necessary. We favor it as a generous transition to independence after marital assets are divided, not a lifetime invitation to return to court, as it is now for many."

Alimony was established when women had no economic power, when divorce was uncommon, life spans shorter, and cohabiting was considered scandalous. Under current law, long-term or permanent alimony goes to ex-spouses who work full-time making good salaries; to ex-spouses with multiple millions in assets or inheritances; and cohabiting ex-wives who have children with new partners. Rarely, higher-earning women pay alimony to ex-husbands. One woman was ordered to pay less than one percent of her 6-figure salary to her ex-husband for two years, after an eleven-year marriage, even though he had no steady income.

"There are so many problems with Connecticut's alimony laws, it's hard to isolate one or two," said CTAR board member Charles Crenshaw, 68, of Bloomfield, who divorced in 2003 and has attempted unsuccessfully to modify his permanent payments twice, since he's of retirement age and his ex-wife works full-time. "The return trips to court are toxic for the entire family. It's especially hard for children of divorce when parents return to court and do battle. The wounds never heal. This prolongs the pain of divorce."

CTAR supports Raised Bill No. 5509, which can be viewed on CTAR's website: The central features:

  • Establish guidelines for alimony duration and amount with flexibility for unusual cases;
  • Establish new criteria to define and determine cohabitation;
  • Provide that alimony payers have a meaningful right to retire and see payments lowered or ended.
  • Remove the income and assets of a payer's new spouse from the amount available for alimony adjustments in a modification.

Connecticut Alimony Reform:

Contact Information

  • Contact:
    Elizabeth Benedict
    917 294 6296