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Alimony Reform Likely Proposed Again in 2015

Alimony reform is one of the hottest topics of debate happening across the country, and many states have revised their laws regarding spousal support in the last few years. Florida is in the midst of a contentious debate over whether permanent, or lifetime, alimony should be eliminated as an option for spousal support, replaced with more temporary forms of support. The law has already been vetoed once before, but many people believe that the reform will be proposed again to Florida legislators this year.

Florida Alimony Reform

In 2013, Florida governor Rick Scott vetoed a bill that would have eliminated permanent alimony payments in the state and enacted other reforms regarding family law. In addition to ending permanent alimony as an option in Florida divorces, the new law would have also prevented payments from lasting longer than one half of the marriage.

The bill was meant to make it harder for a spouse to collect alimony if the marriage lasted for eleven years or less. It also set limits on the amount of support that could be given, as well. Finally, the new law would have also created the presumption that both parents share equal custody of a child unless extraordinary circumstances were proven.

The governor stated that he could not support the bill because “it applies retroactively and thus tampers with the settled economic expectations of many Floridians who have experienced divorce. The retroactive adjustment of alimony could result in unfair, unanticipated results.” Alimony advocates were also concerned that the new law would open the floodgates for litigation, with former spouses returning to court to get their original divorce agreements undone.

After the veto in 2013, the bill was tabled last year and not brought to the Florida House or Senate for debate. However, the sponsors of the bill have promised to bring it to the forefront of debate in the state once again in 2015.

Other States’ Alimony Reform

Alimony reform is occurring in many other states across the country. New Jersey is the latest to have passed laws that created a substantial overhaul of permanent alimony and replaced it with “open durational” alimony or a shorter set period of time. Maine and Texas have had strict alimony laws for years that have limited the duration of spousal support to a short period of time.

Massachusetts passed a similar law in 2011, and several other states like Oregon, Connecticut, and South Carolina are all considering legislation that will shorten the length of alimony payments, as well. Other states have opted not to pass new laws, but judges and family courts are heavily favoring other types of spousal support, like rehabilitative alimony, instead.

Contact a Florida Family Law Attorney

If it passes, the alimony reform bill in Florida will have drastic implications on both spouses involved in a divorce. If you or someone that you know has questions regarding alimony reform or other issues of family law 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 confidential consultation of your case.

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