Florida Lawmakers Closer to Passing Alimony Reform Law
Permanent alimony has come one step closer to being eliminated in the state of Florida, with lawmakers inching forward on passing their sweeping alimony reform bill. State lawmakers have created a bill that has gained the approval of the Florida Bar Association and eliminates the concerns that Governor Rick Scott had when he vetoed similar legislation back in 2013. If it passes, the alimony reform bill would go into effect as soon as October 1 this year.
Key Points of the Alimony Bill
Governor Scott’s previous issues with alimony reform in 2013 centered on the law’s retroactive applicability. Despite being passed with overwhelming support from the state legislature that year, he stated that it “tampers with the settled economic expectations of many Floridians who have experienced divorce.” This new alimony reform bill does not apply retroactively to settled divorce cases, and it includes the following key points:
- Provides judges with alimony guidelines based on the length of the marriage and the difference in income between the spouses
- Requires that a combination of alimony and child support cannot exceed 55% of the paying spouse’s income
- Alimony payments can only continue for a period of time between 25% and 75% of the length of the marriage
- Judges are allowed to make exceptions when a long marriage is broken and one spouse has been out of the workforce for years, making it difficult to reenter
- Paying spouses are allowed to renegotiate payments if the receiving spouse gets an increase in income, the paying spouse becomes unemployed, or the paying spouse retires
- Require courts to assume that any children involved in the divorce should spend 50% of their time with each parent, barring extenuating circumstances
Reactions to the Alimony Bill
Response to the new alimony reform bill has been incredibly supportive from both sides of the aisle in the state legislature. The Florida Bar Association also supports the new iteration of alimony payments in the bill. However, some groups in the state are still wary about provisions in the new potential law.
The National Organization for Women has voiced concerns about the vague wording regarding a homemaking spouse’s requirement for training and education to get a new job outside of the home. In addition, no study has been commissioned about how the bill would affect people receiving alimony, although proponents of the bill claim that such a study is unnecessary. However, everyone is in agreement that the creation of a fairer alimony system for all parties involved would be the best outcome for the state.
Call A Florida Family Law Attorney Today
The alimony reform bill could have a drastic effect on the outcome of your divorce in as little as five months. If you or someone that you know is considering divorce and has questions regarding alimony in the Orlando area, let the experienced office of Steve W. Marsee, P.A. help. Call or contact the office today for a free and private review of your case.