Hopefully you have read our blog titled “Will Permanent Alimony End in Florida?” which discusses the status of Florida’s progress in reforming its spousal support laws. The good news is that the Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously approved Senator Kelli Stargel’s Alimony Reform Bill SB1248. There are still more Senate and House committees that the bill must pass through before it will be sent to Governor Scott for approval.
If approved, the bill would end permanent alimony in Florida, as well as established formula for the courts to follow in determining the length and amount of alimony to be awarded in each case. It would also provide an equal child-sharing arrangement for divorcing couples.
You may recall that a similar version of this law was approved by a divided Florida Legislature in 2013, but it was vetoed by Governor Rick Scott. The current bill has several important differences that will hopefully make the difference in getting it passed, including:
- The law will not be applied retroactively to divorce cases that were already decided or settled. The retroactive application of the 2013 version was a primary reason why it was vetoed because the Governor feared it would result in unfair results for couples who were relying on the alimony agreements they had in place.
- The current bill is a fresh rewrite of the alimony laws, with input from both supporters and opponents of the 2013 bill.
- The alimony formula takes into account the income of both spouses and the length of the marriage, which will provide more consistency in divorce settlements.
- The law would provide more predictability for alimony settlements.
The main concern that is being voiced by different groups regarding the new bill is the equal child-sharing presumption. Even though the law permits a judge to deviate from this presumption based upon several factors, many groups still have issues with the legislation.
If you have questions regarding the pending alimony reform bill or you need assistance with a family law matter, we can help. Contact the Men’s Divorce Law Firm to schedule a consultation with a caring professional, and aggressive advocate for men’s rights in divorce, child timesharing (custody), and paternity matters.