This chapter considers the near-universal rule that alimony terminates upon a recipient's remarriage. The vast majority of states, either through case or statutory law, provide that a recipient's remarriage automatically terminates alimony, or at least creates a prima facie case for termination. However, the rule has no conceptual basis in contemporary understandings of alimony. As the American Law Institute (ALI) acknowledges, the underlying rationale for the remarriage-termination rule is “remarkably unclear.” The chapter begins by discussing the remarriage-termination rule. It then identifies the purpose of alimony, an essential first step in assessing the legitimacy of the remarriage-termination rule. The final section considers judicial rationales for the remarriage-termination rule, which fall into three rough categories: (1) unseemliness, (2) election, and (3) untidiness.
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