I will start this posting by noting that I have not had the misfortune of firsthand experience with a divorce. However, with the divorce rate rising and even amicable splits resulting in financial consequences for both parties, this Wall St. Journal article caught my eye as it takes a look at the recent movement toward more flexible, and less permanent, alimony settlements.
Although there will always be societal concerns about one partner from a dissolved union being left in a precarious pecuniary position, the rise in the employment rate of women, the prevalence of dual income households, and the closing gap in gender income inequality are leading many jurisdictions to rethink permanent alimony plans.
Of course even with the positive changes in gender equality, there will always be outliers where one party is left in a poor position. These can hopefully be reduced in general with agreements which are fair when they are entered into. And, it is more likely that parties will enter into fair arrangements when they believe that future problems may be avoided by doing so. However, unfairness is usually only seen in retrospect and after the situations of one or both former partners have dramatically changed. Therefore, I think the trend toward flexible agreements that consider factors such as time, future co-habitation, and future increases/declines in income are positive and will result in a net reduction of the types of unfairness which result from many of today's agreements.
Hopefully the divorce rate will drop in the future. However, that appears unlikely. In that light it is important that agreements are as amicable and fair as possible, and I agree that the trend toward more flexible alimony settlements is a right step in that direction.