When a couple decides to marry, they enter into a binding contract which results in certain legal benefits and responsibilities. Generally these benefits and responsibilities both dissolve upon dissolution of the marriage. However, if an individual is required to payspousal support as a condition of his or her divorce settlement, responsibilities to the affected partner remain in place post-marriage.
There are many valid reasons to award spousal support. However, many critics are now insisting that spousal support orders that are meant to remain in place until one of the parties dies are inherently unfair. These opponents argue that when individuals opt for divorce, they should not be tied financially to their former partners for the remainder of their natural lives.
In most cases, permanent spousal support orders are not granted as a matter of course. Spousal support is generally only awarded for the length of time a court deems necessary for the recipient to become financially stable and independent. However, there are situations in which the recipient will not be able to secure a financially independent future. If the spouse is ill, has a serious medical condition or is very advanced in age, it may be unreasonable to require that individual to seek gainful employment.
It is understandable that opponents of permanent alimony wish these orders abolished in deference to those who pay it. It is also understandable that spouses who have become seriously ill, injured or advanced in age during the course of the marriage do not want the possibility of these orders abolished. In the end, these orders are subject to legislative restrictions and judicial restraint. Permanent alimony should not be granted in the vast majority of cases, but before prohibiting the practice entirely it is important to consider the most vulnerable spouses who would be affected by such action.
Source: Yahoo! Finance, "End Permanent Alimony Forever Say Opponents," Lauren Lyster, April 23, 2013