Once upon a time, alimony laws in Massachusetts made sense. They were enacted when the husband was usually the sole breadwinner. In a typical marriage back then, the wife took care of the home, raised the children and probably didn't have a chance to develop a marketable skill. So when a marriage ended in divorce, a judge could order the ex-husband to pay alimony to his ex-wife for life.
But it's a different world today, with women making up nearly half of the American workforce. But while the times have changed, the state's alimony laws have not. And Massachusetts remains one of the few states that still awards lifetime alimony — even after a brief marriage comes to an end.
But now, Massachusetts is considering amending its alimony laws. On Beacon Hill this week there were hearings on a proposed bill that has broad support. If passed, it would end alimony for life in most cases and put limits on how much one ex is required to pay the other.
This segment aired on May 19, 2011.