Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Connecticut Legislature Considers New Alimony Law

Connecticut alimony law may undergo significant changes thanks to Raised Bill No. 5524. In 2013, the Connecticut legislature passed Public Act 13-213 , which required the Connecticut Law Revision Commission to study the fairness and adequacy of Connecticut alimony laws. Attorney Kate Haakonsen of Brown, Paindiris & Scott  was among those appointed to the committee tasked with studying alimony laws. The committee’s recommendations are incorporated in the bill currently before the legislature. Three major provisions of the bill are highlighted below.

Under the bill, courts may now consider both gross and net income and the tax consequences of its orders. Connecticut case law had previously suggested that only net income may be considered.

Another provision of the bill allows for the modification, suspension, reduction or termination of alimony if the recipient spouse is found to have been living in a marriage-like relationship over a period of six months. The paying spouse must prove the existence of a marriage-like relationship. The recipient spouse must then prove that the alimony should remain as is. The court must make this determination in conjunction with the existing statutory criteria of Connecticut’s alimony statute, codified in Sec. 46b-82.

The bill provides an opportunity to modify alimony for the paying spouse who is retires at age sixty-five or older. The recipient spouse must prove why alimony should not be modified. Alimony may be modified in early retirement situations if the paying spouse proves that a modification should be permitted. In addition to considering the paying spouse’s retirement, the court must also consider the factors of Sec. 46b-82.

If passed, these changes could take effect as early as October 1, 2014. With questions on how this new bill may impact your alimony, please contact the family lawyers of Brown, Paindiris & Scott.