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Florida Lawmakers Propose New Alimony Reform Formula

A “child support-esque” formula that would determine the amount of money awarded for alimony in Florida is now in the works with the state’s legislators. In contrast to the legislation that passed through the state House of Representatives and Senate two years ago that was ultimately vetoed by the governor, this new plan, proposed by House Rules Chairman Ritch Workman, has the blessing of all parties involved.

Proposed Alimony Reform

Under Chairman Workman’s proposal, family law judges would rely on a formula that takes into account certain variables like the length of the marriage and the income of both spouses to determine how much divorcing spouses should receive in alimony. However, judges still have the authority in extreme cases to go outside of the formula and award the amount of alimony that they see fit.

One major difference in the alimony reform proposed by Chairman Workman and the alimony reform passed two years ago is that this plan would not apply retroactively to divorced couples in Florida. Governor Scott cited the retroactive nature of the law in 2013 as a reason why he vetoed the bill, while this plan would merely allow for modifications under the new law.

Effects on the Current Law

If passed, this new alimony reform bill would essentially do away with permanent alimony in Florida. This area was something that garnered large support from both sides of the aisle during the last reform proposal, but the law would also still give judges the ability to use discretion in certain cases to award it.

The new law has other implications for couples whose marriage ends in divorce. This includes part of the formula that determines a specific start and end time for alimony payments to occur. According to Chairman Workman, “This bill, for the first time in Florida history, creates a formula for alimony. The last time I did this, it was limiting . . . This one says, after a divorce, here’s the ratio for your alimony. In some cases, people will get more alimony than in the past. But what it does for everybody is it gives a start and an end date to alimony.”

Responses from Constituents

Representatives from the Florida Bar Association and the head of the Floridians for Alimony Reform have both gone on record supporting the new proposals for alimony reform. Calling it “a complete rethinking of the way we do alimony,” previous adversaries to Florida alimony reform are now praising the new plan as a way to strike a balance between those who pay spousal support and those who need it. The chairman of the National Alimony Study Committee of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers says that Florida’s proposal is an overhaul drawn from the best practices of other states but is unique.

Call a Florida Alimony Attorney

If you have questions about how this new reform may affect your alimony payments or have any other questions regarding 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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