Re-Thinking Alimony: The AAML's Considerations for Calculating Alimony, Spousal Support or Maintenance

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The mission of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers is "to encourage the study, improve the practice, elevate the standards and advance the cause of matrimonial law, to the end that the welfare of the family and society be protected." The AAML Comission was charged to analyze, critically review and make recommendations consistent with the mission of the Academy. After considering all available sources of information the Commission concluded that there are two significant and related problems associated with the setting of spousal support. The first is a lack of consistency resulting in a perception of unfairness. From this flows the second problem, which is an inability to accurately predict an outcome in any given case. This lack of consistency and predictability undermines confidence in the judicial system and further acts as an impediment to the settlement of cases. In response to these concerns, many jurisdictions have adopted a formula approach to setting spousal support. This article highlights some of the problems inherent in setting alimony awards, reviews the traditional rationales for alimony, the evolution of the remedy and discusses approaches to addressing the concerns, including the guidelines and AAML Considerations.

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Journal of American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers





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