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.