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California bill could lower alimony

The California State Senate recently held a hearing on a bill that is designed to reduce the amount of alimony paid in divorce cases.

State Senator Rod Wright introduced Senate Bill 481 in February of this year and it has been making its way through the legislature over the past few months, according to the California Senate’s website.

Specifically, the bill would require courts to consider “the extent to which income for support was already capitalized and paid to the other spouse in the division of community property, in order to avoid double counting the income when the result would be inequitable,” when determining spousal support.

According to the Sacramento Bee, Wright says that the amendment to Section 4320 of the Family Code would prevent “double-dipping” in alimony cases and that the legislation would lead to lower alimony payments, which are typically made by men.

Wright has previously attempted to make divorce laws more fair to men. According to an article in the Bee in 2002, the Democrat was able to get legislative approval for a bill that would have allowed men in certain situations to contest child support orders if they have DNA evidence that they are not the child’s biological father.

Mass. proposal would alter divorce law

A selectman in a Massachusetts town recently introduced a bill that would bar divorcing parents from carrying out a sexual relationship in their home.

Wrentham Selectman Robert Leclair’s bill, which was recently put in front of state lawmakers, would prevent couples going through a divorce from “conducting a dating or sexual relationship within the home” until their divorce is finalized, reports the Boston Herald.

Leclair told the news source that the legislation is designed to prevent domestic violence incidents and protect children from unpleasant scenes.

“It’s not intended to abridge the rights of anybody,” he said. “If they want to have an extra-marital affair, just get away from the home.”

State Sen. Richard Ross has sponsored the bill but has yet to comment on it, according to the news source.

Massachusetts is also considering a change to its alimony laws. The proposal currently under consideration would put an end to lifetime spousal support. It would also base the size and the duration of the payments on the length of the marriage. According to The Associated Press, the state currently has no limit on the duration of alimony payments.

Massachusetts considers ending lifetime alimony

Lawmakers in Massachusetts are considering a change to an alimony law that allows judges to grant the payments for life.

According to The Associated Press, the state’s current law does not place any time limits on how long the judge can award alimony. Illustrative of some of the problems created by the law is the case of Steve Niro.

The news source reports that Niro got married about 30 years ago and was divorced less than five years later. After the youngest child of that marriage graduated from college, Niro was still required to pay $65 per week to his ex-wife. The woman, not happy with this amount, sought alimony modification and a judge agreed to give her $700 per week, reports the news provider.

“I could be paying alimony for the rest of my life for a 4½-year marriage when I was a kid,” Niro told the AP. “It’s just unfair.”

A divorce attorney told the news source that most states no longer have “lifetime alimony” laws because now it is expected that women will go out and work.

Stephen Hinter, who started a grass-roots campaign named MassAlimony Reform, said that change was needed to protect people from going broke through alimony.

“We want the Legislature to act,” he told the news source. “Every day someone else files for bankruptcy from this. Every day someone else’s life is ruined.”

Indiana county wants more civil divorces

Judges in Tippecanoe County, Indiana, are considering adopting divorce rules that are intended to make the proceedings more civil.

The Lafayette Journal & Courier reports that the proposals for the Tippecanoe County Rules of Family Law are based on a “cooperative model,” which has been successfully deployed in other parts of the state.

“Parent conflict can tear a family apart,” Tippecanoe Superior Court Judge Thomas Busch told the news source. “This is to keep the children from suffering. In order to achieve that, we have to get parents to work together. We have to come up with ways to solve conflict so that it is in the best interest of children.”

The Associated Press reports that the rules would try to prevent divorcing couples from bringing everyone into the court room or trying to have the other party found guilty of contempt.

However, the chairman of the Tippecanoe County Bar Association told the AP that such changes would likely require more paperwork and thus increase the expense of divorce for many clients.

A more amicable divorce may also benefit divorcing parties in addition to the children.

OH child custody law to protect military rights

Legislation passed by the Ohio House would have an impact on child custody laws as it pertains to military members.

The Hudson Hub Times reports that Substitute House Bill 121 would prevent service members from losing child custody while they are deployed.

Representative Cliff Rosenberger, the main sponsor of the bill, said that he proposed the legislation after hearing from members of the military who lost child custody while serving their country.

“While our men and women are serving our nation, the last thing they should be concerned about is whether they’ll hear from their child,” he told the news source.

Specifically, the bill would bar courts from making permanent decisions about child custody orders already in place based only on the absence of a parent due to military service. Courts would still be able to issue temporary child custody orders in such cases.

There were 54.8 divorces per 100 marriages in Ohio in 2008, according to data from the Ohio Department of Health’s Center for Public Health Statistics and Informatics.