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How Alimony Laws Have Changed Over Time

Last updated 5 years ago

When alimony laws were first created, they were designed to protect a woman financially if the marriage dissolved at the fault of the husband. The theory behind this protection was that women did not earn income and would therefore be unable to support themselves in the event of divorce. Today, however, economic, social, and cultural options for women have changed, and alimony laws have evolved to reflect these changes.

The Uniform Marriage and Divorce Act

The Uniform Marriage and Divorce Act (UMDA) helps couples embrace the notion of no-fault divorce, because it allows couples to file a divorce petition without assigning blame. The legal minds that drafted UMDA recognized that women were gaining professional opportunities, and therefore rejected traditional roles of economic dependency in a marriage and weakened the foundation of many alimony laws.

Rehabilitative Alimony

In the early 1990s, alimony legislation saw changes after many people began criticizing common alimony awards from the previous decades. This legislation changed traditional alimony laws by expanding the list of factors that courts can take into consideration when awarding alimony to ex-spouses. In particular, the legislation allowed individual courts to base alimony awards on particular facts of the case as opposed to broad assumptions of traditional gender roles.

Common Law Notions

According to previous common laws, paying alimony was only required for unfaithful husbands who harmed their wives through infidelity. In this sense, alimony was a form of damages meant to punish the at-fault party for inflicting harm. Current alimony laws still reflect this view, as a spouse guilty of marital misconduct is not able to obtain alimony support in most states.

If you are considering filing for divorce in San Jose, it is important to fully understand how California alimony laws will affect the outcome of your case. Call (408) 266-9011 to schedule a consultation with Moreno Family Law. Our divorce lawyers help each client reach a compromise with his or her ex-spouse, using courtroom litigation as a last resort.


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