A recent article in Time Magazine called The End of Alimony
discusses some of the potentially unfair and unrealistic outcomes that can result from the current family legal system. The example highlighted in the article discusses a second wife having potential responsibility to her new husband’s ex-wife for alimony payments. The article looks at both sides of the equation – the new wife having unforeseen and unwanted obligations and the first wife having financial struggles and dependence on this additional source of income. It is no doubt a complicated issue. Many issues in divorce are complicated.
The challenge in court cases is often to balance the rights of the participants with the need for efficiency and structure in the law. Courts do not always have the time and resources to give every case the attention it needs to find unique and realistic resolutions
. Unfortunately, there are rarely one-size-fits-all resolutions.
provides an alternative. In divorce, the collaborative law process provides for unique outcomes that are tailored to the individual situation of the couple. A good collaborative team can gather the information needed and then take a 360 degree look at resolutions to take unforeseen circumstances into account. Where the courts may have formulaic outcomes in mind, collaboration can lead to outcomes that can change as circumstances change.
Alimony or spousal maintenance, for example, does not necessarily need to end upon remarriage (as the law often presumes). Perhaps the parties agree to look at the realities of new partnerships and see if there are ways to find resolutions that take everyone’s interests into account? The resolutions may not be perfect, but they are reached together with all stakeholders at the table.
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