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Florida lawmakers pushing for major alimony overhaul

by | Mar 17, 2016 | divorce

In our last post, we discussed how state lawmakers recently sent a measure calling for shared parenting to Governor Rick Scott. To recap, this measure would mandate that judges start with the presumption or “premise” that children should split their time 50-50 with each parent in custody cases and adjust accordingly after consideration of 15 different factors.

Interestingly enough, this shared parenting measure was one of two major components of a major divorce reform bill that also calls for significant changes to be made in the way alimony is determined.

The alimony reform measure in question calls for the outright elimination of permanent alimony payments, as well as a considerable degree of judicial discretion.

Indeed, it would introduce a system in which both the duration and amount of alimony awarded would be calculated using formulas based on the length of the marriage and the income disparities between the two spouses.

In addition, the measure contains language mandating that renegotiations must occur if the recipient of the alimony sees their income increase by 10 percent.

As you might imagine, this move toward alimony reform has proven polarizing, with supporters arguing that it will result in greater predictability for divorcing couples and greater uniformity in cases.

Opponents, however, are arguing that it will do a great disservice to women — who currently comprise 97 percent of alimony recipients in the Sunshine State — and that this negative impact will be felt most strongly by those women who gave up their career to raise children.

As we mentioned last time, Governor Scott vetoed a similar measure two years ago over the absence of language prohibiting couples from modifying existing arrangements. While this version wouldn’t allow this in relation to custody agreements, it is somewhat unclear regarding alimony agreements.

Stay tuned for developments …

Consider speaking with an experienced legal professional as soon as possible if you have questions or concerns related to alimony, child custody or another divorce-related matter.