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Alimony Bill Dies in Legislature

The alimony bill that was supported by both sides of the legislature as well as many legal and lobbying bodies across the state has unfortunately failed to pass this year. Two Republican lawmakers now blame each other for the failure of the bill that was supported by so many people across the state and would have completely reformed the alimony structure in the state of Florida.

Features of the Bill

The alimony bill that was proposed by the Florida House of Representatives would have done away with durational, rehabilitative, bridge-the-gap, and permanent alimony in the state. It would have given guidelines similar to child support tables for judges to rely upon in addition to a list of other factors to determine whether and how much support one spouse should receive from another in the case of divorce. The bill also touched on matters of child custody and proposed that the presumption should be that a child’s time is split 50/50 between the two parents unless it is not in the best interest of the child.

Why the Bill Failed

The arguments over the bill were focused on the 50/50 child sharing provision of the law, which was pushed by Senate Appropriations Chairman Tom Lee. According to Senator Lee, the proposed bill by the House did not go far enough and claimed that the provision was “designed to create confusion in the courts.” One of the proponents of the bill, House Rules Chairman Ritch Workman, accused Senator Lee of hijacking the bill for his own reasons and being a bully in the legislature.

Senator Lee retaliated by claiming that the bill was poorly drafted and refused to allow attempts to amend the bill without the 50/50 child sharing requirement. However, Representative Workman claimed that the true purpose for Lee’s problem with the bill is his own current child custody dispute. “The only person refusing to negotiate and come off a rigid position is Tom Lee. And that individual is going to kill a bill out of spite because he didn’t get his way. Literally picking up his toys and stomping out of the sandbox and running back with tears and snot in his nose because he didn’t want to share his toys in the sandbox.”

The House of Representatives ended up adjourning for this session three days prior to the scheduled end before the objections to the child sharing guidelines could be worked out. Then the Florida Senate refused to look at the companion bill that would have kept it alive in their part of the legislature. As a result, there will be no changes to the alimony system in Florida for this legislative year.

Call a Florida Family Law Attorney

If you or a loved one has questions regarding alimony or another issue of family law in the Orlando area, let the experienced office of Steve W. Marsee, P.A. help. We are happy to provide assistance in your family law case.

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