Public Hearing 11/6: Spousal Support and Maintenance Task Force

The Spousal Support and Maintenance Task Force’s public hearing is scheduled for Monday, November 6th, 2017, from 5:30 -7:00 pm at Vermont Law School.  The hearing takes place in Debevoise Hall (Building 4), the Nina Thomas Classroom, located at 164 Chelsea Street, South Royalton, Vermont (VLS campus map link here). Parking is available in the lot on Cameron Way. Members of the public will have 5 minutes to testify, and can begin signing up 30 minutes prior to the event. 

Background: At the end of this year’s legislative session, Vermont Commission on Women (VCW) was placed on a new 8-member Spousal Support and Maintenance Task Force created for the purpose of reviewing and making legislative recommendations to Vermont’s alimony laws. 

The legislation that created the Task Force included new non-binding statewide guidelines around amount and duration of alimony as one of eight factors for judges to consider.  Taskforce discussion has included termination of maintenance upon cohabitation or remarriage of the recipient and upon the retirement of the payor.

As a member of the Task Force, VCW will provide research and information, including presenting voices and stories of Vermont women on this issue. Nationally, alimony is awarded in only 10% of all divorces in the United States, so we know that this will be difficult to accomplish!  That’s why we are seeking help.

We’re looking for women (nationally 97% of alimony recipients) who are willing to share their stories about receiving or paying alimony in their Vermont divorce:

  • Maybe they were a full-time homemaker and parent, providing flexibility and contributing to the earning power and career advancement of their spouse.
  • Maybe as the stay-at home parent, time away from their career resulted in lost income, opportunity, and career advancement.
  • Maybe they should have been awarded alimony and were not.
  • Maybe they put their spouse through medical school or law school.
  • Maybe they were still serving as primary care giver to a child of the marriage.
  • Maybe they had agreed to be the full-time homemaker, and now later in life, have no work experience, and alimony payments prevent them from sliding into poverty.
  • Maybe their health or physical or mental disability reduces their ability to work and support themselves, or maybe they are caring for a child of the marriage with a serious physical or mental disability that requires extra care and supervision.
  • Maybe at the time of the divorce there wasn’t sufficient property available to provide a just and equitable division.
  • Maybe they were victims of domestic violence and face diminished earning capacity as a result of missed career or educational opportunities.
  • Maybe they have physical or emotional health problems as a result of domestic violence, impacting their ability to work and support themselves.
  • Maybe they pay out alimony to an ex-spouse who fits the descriptions above.

Are you or have you been a payor or receiver of alimony in Vermont?  Come to this public hearing, tell your story and make a difference.  Can’t make it and want to share your story?  Complete VCW’s online survey at: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/N8ZW3P9  or contact Hannah Lane at hannah.lane@vermont.gov or (802) 828-2852.