July 3, 2013
By Rita Fuerst Adams, National Executive Director, National Parents Organization
National Parents Organization of Connecticut is proud to announce that on June 25th Connecticut Governor Dannel Patrick Malloy signed into law HB6688 revising statutes relating to the award of alimony. It is effective October 1, 2013.
Working with Connecticut Alimony Reform, our new affiliate has begun to improve alimony statutes in Connecticut. HB6688 highlights the fact that alimony statutes are gender neutral in their application; makes the switch to gender inclusive language; and adds education and earning capacity to the list of factors for consideration. It also provides for a study of the fairness and adequacy of state statutes relating to the award of alimony to be conducted by the Legislative Program Review and Investigations Committee.
Please let us know if you would like to get involved with our Connecticut Affiliate. They will continue their work on alimony and are planning to testify at the child support guidelines hearings in the fall.
The co-sponsors of this legislation are: Representatives David A. Baram (D-15); Louis P. Esposito (D-116); Themis Klarides (R-114); Hilda E. Santiago (D-84); and Joseph C. Serra (D-33); and Senators Anthony J. Musto (D-22); and Kevin D. Witkos (R-8).
Assignment of Property
In determining the nature and value of property to be assigned in divorce, annulment, or legal separation settlements, the new legislation requires the court also to consider each party’s earning capacity and education, and to consider all the evidence presented by each party before assigning property. This is in addition to what is considered under current law:
- Length of the marriage;
- Causes for the annulment, dissolution of the marriage, or legal separation;
- Age, health, station, occupation, amount and sources of income, vocational skills, employability, estate, liabilities, and needs of each party;
- Opportunity of each party to acquire capital assets and income in the future; and
- Contribution of each party to the acquisition, preservation, or appreciation in value of their respective estates.
Determining Alimony Award
To determine whether to award alimony, as well as the duration and the amount, the new legislation requires the court to consider each party’s earning capacity and education. This is in addition to considerations specified by current law listed above. It also stipulates that the court must consider the feasibility as well as the desirability of a parent to whom custody of minor children has been awarded of securing employment, and that the court must consider all the evidence presented by each party before determining such awards.
Indefinite or Lifetime Alimony Award
The court must now specify the basis for any order for alimony that terminates only upon the death of either party or the remarriage of the recipient.
Modification of Alimony
These new requirements to determine alimony may now be used to modify alimony. Also, if the agreement of the parties specifies circumstances of cohabitation under which alimony will be modified, suspended, or terminated, the court must enforce that provision of the agreement and enter orders accordingly.
Motion for Modification of Support Order Combined with Motion for Contempt
The bill repeals a requirement for courts to (1) accept a motion for modification of an order for support and alimony by a party against whom a motion for contempt for noncompliance with such orders is pending, and (2) hear both motions at the same time.
Connecticut Law Revision Commission Alimony Study
The Connecticut Law Revision Commission is to study the fairness and adequacy of state statutes relating to the award of alimony in actions for divorce, legal separation, or annulment. It requires the commission to (1) collect empirical data on the award of alimony by courts in the state and (2) recommend revisions to state statutes as the commission deems just and equitable.
The Commission must consider the following in developing its recommendations:
- The nature of the proceedings in actions for dissolution of marriage, legal separation, or annulment;
- The comprehensiveness of the existing statutory criteria used to determine alimony awards;
- Statistical data reflecting the comparative financial circumstances of parties to the actions at defined intervals subsequent to the entry of judgment;
- The statutory criteria used in other states to make such determinations; and
- Other considerations the commission deems appropriate.
The Commission must meet in public, report out on its meetings, and present its recommendations for proposed statutory revisions to the Judiciary Committee and the chief court administrator by February 1, 2014.