Alimony Could Be Changing in Florida

Permanent alimony would no longer be allowed in Florida under legislation that cleared a key State House Committee Thursday in Tallahassee. The bill makes dozens of changes to the divorce statute and continues to move despite opposition from lawyers and women’s organizations.

Marriage is supposed to last forever...but sometime after the toast on wedding day, the glass becomes empty for half of all marriages. Once in court, the outcome is never certain. Hector Torres of Miami came to Tallahassee to tell his story. “And I was divorced at the age of 34. My ex wife was 33 at the time of the divorce., and I have to pay her permanent alimony for the rest of my life.

More than a dozen people wearing red filled the seats in the House Judiciary Committee. Rep. Rick Workman is the sponsor of a bill making changes in divorce law. Among the biggest. Unfaithfulness when alimony is awarded.

“Judges often times look at the one receiving the money and make sure that standard of living remains the same as the marriage, where the payor finds himself or herself at a significant reduction in income and standard of living. This bill just says hey, let’s make sure there is a presumption both parties will have a lower standard of living.

Under the bill, that passed, alimony could end at retirement. And it adds three years...from 17 to 20 years of marriage before a judge can consider long term alimony. Barbara Devane of the National Organization for Women is concerned.
“They stay home, they raise the children, and then they get older and the man trades them in for a younger wife, and then they are left out in the cold, and they must be protected.”

Sponsors say the ultimate objective is to get the same outcome in similar cases, something which is often not the case now.

The Florida Bar Family Law Section also expressed doubts about changing the law, but said it was willing to work with the sponsor to make sure the bill is fair to both sides in a divorce.

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  • by Ronald Fallows,II Location: Casselberry, Florida on Mar 23, 2012 at 05:27 AM
    I am 100% for the reform of alimony. I have also been paying alimony for life and my income has decreased considerably. I have tried to have it lowered and so far have spent 27,000 dollars to an attorney who only got my alimony raised another $100 a month. Not only is the law outdated, but the attorneys who represent these parasites are also laughing to the bank. I also paid child support during a time my son lived with me after his mother abandoned him. This went on for 3 years and the judge has yet given me my money back. His mother also stole a $22,000 trust fund allocated to my son for college and she spent that as well. Where is the justice?
  • by Fileted Location: Florida on Feb 29, 2012 at 12:24 PM
    I was married for 11 years and my "ex" was awarded permanent lifetime / modifiable alimony. Oh yes, she was 45 when I filed for divorce and had been an RN at a major hospital with almost 20 years of experience as a RN. She receives $12,000 (modifiable) a year for the rest of her life based on 11 years of marriage. There is no way she would re-marry and loose this "forever" income. "A woman is the nurturer and the man is the provider ... it has been this way since the caveman times". This is what was told to me by a "family councilor" during my divorce proceedings. However, I have been and still am currently a room parent for my son's class, assisted the teacher in my daughter's kindergarten class teaching science, coach the baseball team, take them to Doctors appointments, campout to purchase front row seats for my daughter's dance recitals, give more time, hugs and kisses to our kids that could ever be counted. The kids are with me 2 out of three days with one overnight and with their Mother 2 out of 3 nights (oh yes … that “Overnight Rule” that gives her even more child support too). I have them more "waking hours" than she does. This means I get to enjoy all of the following 2/3’s of each and every month and would not change it for the world: doing their school projects with them, homework, volunteering at their school, coaching, cooking, packing their lunches for school, sitting in the cafeteria with them and their friends for lunch, walking them up to school, picking them up in car line, providing dinners, teaching, and parenting them. Life time alimony while I support an entirely separate household for the kids’ right down to their socks and hair ties for my daughter? How embarrassing it must be for this State to try and justify this mess. The Family Law Court System in Florida is in broken and in shambles. However, a tremendous "thank you" for those who have listened, noted and acted on the State of Florida's archaic alimony laws!
  • by CLW Pilot Location: Florida on Feb 25, 2012 at 12:27 AM
    This is long-overdue legislative reform. The current laws in Florida fit the 1950's perfectly. They don't represent our modern society. Revising the alimony laws takes away the "greed factor" that unscrupulous family law attorneys use to fan the flames of the divorce to generate legal fees for themselves. And that hurts both spouses in the long term. This will have a meaningful impact on thousands of families while also protecting legitimate needs of non-working spouses.
  • by Good Dad Location: Florida on Feb 22, 2012 at 03:21 PM
    Divorce laws shouldn't be like automobile laws, e.g., "No Fault". I was married for 30 years, got married when I was 21, my "x" and I have [3] beautiful children. For those same 30 years, I worked 55 hours a week, 5 day work weeks to afford my family all that they needed and at times what they wanted. 5 years ago when all but 1 of our children were still at home, the other 2 being old enough to move out and fend for themselves, I came home from work one night and discovered my wife was having an affair! This was "evidenced" by the hickies on her neck! I filed for divorce, and since we were married for so long, got stuck with "Perpetual" alimony in lieu of child support! My "x" cheated on me, Florida No Fault divorce law, I pay forever until I die, or she remarries? What? Remarry, who in their right mind who's(ladies) receiving alimony would get marrined again and for-go this annuity? My "x" now has a live in male "partner", have been living together for over 3 years, my "x" works, and her "partner" runs a pool service company that my "x" incorporated. Nice going away prize there Alex Trebek, $24,000/year for the rest of my life I have to pay while my "x" is fully capable of going to work as a nurse and make her own money. Current divorce laws are garbage and need to be recycled, and quickly.
  • by John Location: Tampa on Feb 22, 2012 at 03:02 PM
    I was married for 30 years, and by working my "tail" off for all of those years "afforded" my {3} children and x-wife with all that they needed and some times wanted. 30 years of averaging 60 hour work weeks in a 5 day week.
  • by CJ Location: Brooksville on Feb 19, 2012 at 12:25 PM
    It's about time Florida caught up to 21st century and really make this equal for both divorcing parties. It's sickening to hear of the people who have been suffering for years paying thier hard earn wages to a lazy greedy person! Step it up florida!!!
  • by james Location: brooksville on Feb 19, 2012 at 12:14 PM
    These laws outdated and unfair!!! One sponse should not have to pay for the rest of their lives.
  • by Del on Feb 19, 2012 at 11:36 AM
    I was married 20 years to a Woman that had been married before i have no children and i still have and i still have to pay my ex for the rest of my life i do not thank it is fare i do hope the florida law makers stop stop thhis i don,t think a man that has no children have to pay the rest of my life
  • by Kathie Location: Venice on Feb 18, 2012 at 07:15 PM
    This isn't the 50's. It's time to update a law that is so outdated it is being taken advantage of by too many causing the need for reform. Lifetime...really? Why would a marriage end yet a spouse still be responsible for the other for a lifetime? It is ludicris! My fiancee pays $2000 a month to his ex who let her home go into foreclosure, rents it out, took some of her inheritence early from her father, bought a new home (in their daughters name) and is mortgage free! He pays this alimony to a woman with no car payment, no mortgage payment and no morals or ethics while he works 60 to 80 hours a weeks to support 2 households. Lifetime? Yeah, that's fair for her to sit home! For the record, I too am divorced and never took child support or alimony from my ex!!!!! I am responsible for myself and my son and have worked at the same job for 25 years! A very proud woman I am!
  • by DivorcedDad Location: Tampa on Feb 18, 2012 at 09:39 AM
    Is hard to believe there is opposiition to some of this stuff. I am curious about why opponents of the bill believe a new spouse should owe the old spouse alimony. Are we just trying to sue all involved? The new spouse had nothing to do with the previous marriage. Can anyone weigh in on thei reasoning?
    • reply
      by Second Wife in California on Feb 21, 2012 at 12:37 PM in reply to DivorcedDad
      DivorcedDad: Its called a community "pot". My salary helps my husband and his salary helps his ex-wife
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