Saturday, January 21, 2017

Vermont Alimony Reform Progress

Rick Fleming, president of Vermont Alimony Reform, has a well written letter to the editor in the Chester Telegraph.

A reform bill did pass the Vermont Senate this session but unfortunately will not be voted on in the House due to scheduling constraints given the lateness in the session. Although I am sure this is disappointing to our friends in Vermont, it does bode quite well for the future.
Vermont Alimony Reform's legislative goals are:

  1. Spousal support should be designed to encourage self-sufficiency and independence for the lower earning spouse through the use of training and transitional spousal support with specific guidelines and formulas to give Family Court Judges direction and guidance, resulting in greater consistency, predictability and fairness throughout the state. Spousal support should not be designed for lifetime maintenance of a pre-existing lifestyle while in the marriage. Formulaic factors could include such items as number of years married, career or professional development constraints such as parental/familial obligations, and physical/mental health considerations. Calculations should not include assumptions of future potential earnings of either spouse based on past economic performance.
  2. Spousal support terminates upon the recipient’s remarriage or cohabitation. Spousal support should not include support and maintenance of a former spouse’s new partner, either directly or indirectly.
  3. Current payors with modifiable judgments or agreements should have the right to file for a modification/reconsideration based upon the new guidelines until an established date, with specific written reasoning entered to the Court record by the Judge for denying any such attempts at modification.
  4. A spousal support obligation terminates when the payor reaches the National Full Retirement Age. 
  5. Establishing a predictable end date will allow the payor and payee an opportunity to plan and save for retirement. Everyone deserves to retire!
  6. Specific guidelines for the term and amount of spousal support should be capped and based upon documented and reasonable financial NEED rather than accustomed lifestyle, with a maximum of 30 percent to 35 percent of the difference between the incomes of both parties. The intent is to create parity between the parties until the lower earning spouse becomes self-sufficient, and NOT based on judicial assumptions of future potential earnings of the paying spouse.
  7. The Family Court must honor all legally binding prenuptial agreements, final stipulations and/or contracts between the parties.
  8. A subsequent spouse to the payor’s income should never be considered when a payor remarries, either directly or implied.

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