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The Uncertain Future of Florida Alimony

Alimony, otherwise known as maintenance or spousal support, has long been a pillar of social and economic stability for individuals reorganizing their life after a divorce. A bill intended to reform Florida’s alimony laws, known as HB231, has just passed its first subcommittee in the Florida House in a 10-2 vote and is now headed the House Judiciary Committee to be decided in the next several weeks. The HB231 bill’s purpose is to limit the extent of alimony, both the amount and the duration.

Alan Frischer, of Florida Alimony Reform, created the bill in hopes of updating what the group sees as Florida’s “archaic” alimony system. The bill’s sponsor, Ritch Workman, R-Melbourne, hopes this bill will allow someone who has gone through a divorce the ability to “move on with their life” without forever being tied to excessive payments. During the subcommittees hearings, several victims of the current “archaic” alimony system were brought in to explain their plight. The individuals included one divorced man who claimed about half of his salary went solely to alimony. 1406929_calculator.jpg

Opponents of the current reform bill cited the important role alimony plays in many people’s lives, especially newly single parents. Many spouses develop a skill set, lifestyle, and spending budget based on the couple’s income. When the marriage ends the spouse who contributed to the household but has not developed professionally could be left in severe need; unable to pay bills based on the previous income. In most instances, this disadvantaged spouse is the woman which has led to critics, such as Rep. Cynthia Stafford, D-Miami, to call this reform “anti-woman”.

One of the basic most tangible tenets of HB231 is that it would limit the extent of alimony to 50% of the duration of the marriage. In other words, a 20 year marriage could lead to only 10 years of alimony. A divorcing partner could seek an extension of this time, which will be known as durational alimony, with only “clear and convincing evidence that exceptional circumstances justify the need for a longer award of alimony.” In order to make such a showing, one should contact a qualified Florida family law attorney.

Furthermore, marriages shorter than 10 years may not be eligible for alimony.

The calculation of alimony would be performed differently from ever before. Expectations that both spouses should enjoy the same quality of life would be reevaluated and alimony calculations would not be used as a second method of child support. This new calculation could affect modifications of current alimony payment schedules.

If the HB231 passes, an ex-spouse would also be excused from future payments upon retirement from their professional at a “reasonable retirement age”.

Florida family law attorney Sandy T. Fox is dedicated to helping clients in the South Florida area resolve their family legal matters effectively and compassionately. The Law Firm of Sandy T. Fox focuses exclusively on family law issues, including divorce, alimony, prenuptials, child custody and support. To schedule your private free consultation with experienced family law attorney Sandy T. Fox, please call our law office toll free at (800) 596-0579 or contact us through our website.

Related Blog Posts:

Group Seeks to Reform Permanent Alimony Laws in the State of Florida, Fort Lauderdale Divorce Lawyer Blog, November 16, 2012
Florida’s Third District Holds Former Wife’s Alimony Award May Not Be Reduced Where No Financial Support is Provided by Live-In Boyfriend, Fort Lauderdale Divorce Lawyer Blog, October 12, 2012

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