Radical reforms are expected in divorce laws in Florida this year, which includes eliminating lifelong alimony, which has been a bone of contention in many a divorce. According to South Florida divorce lawyers this is the second attempt to get rid of what many term as an obsolete alimony system.
The first attempt by the state’s lawmakers was vetoed by Gov. Rick Scott. However, the bill is more likely to be passed since it exempts people who are already receiving and depend on alimony payments, which was the basis on which Gov. Scott argued the first time around.
Guidelines for judges
Details on guidelines on how long alimony should be awarded are still being worked out. According to South Florida divorce attorneys there are several factors that judges will need to consider if the bill meets the approval of the legislature. This includes the income of spouses and the how long the couple have been married. Currently, judges do not have any specific guidelines and have a broad discretion when deciding alimony in divorce cases.
The new bill is being pushed by House Rules Chairman Ritch Workman who is of the opinion that many people were likely to receive a better deal than before. However, the important aspect of the bill Workman says is that there will be a start and end date rather than have alimony continue indefinitely.
Bill finds support on both sides
The bill is likely to be taken up in the next legislative session in the beginning of March. According to Rep. Colleen Burton, R-Lakeland, who will sponsor the bill, there are several benefits that divorcing couples could derive. To begin with, both spouses would know where they stand before any court battle.
The new law would also ensure a fair outcome for families faced with a difficult situation. Burton says the guidelines would be similar to those of child support cases. For the first time, organizations on both sides seem to be at a consensus and are likely to vote in favor of the bill.
It also finds support from the Florida Bar Family Law Section who firmly lobbied against the bill in 2013. Several divorce attorneys are of the opinion that it would protect both spouses who would be able to conveniently create a budget. Family Law Reform, a nonprofit that is a proponent of the bill, deems it to be one of the most progressive reform bills. The group’s founder, Alan Frisher, says he expects the efforts and patience of the group to pay off.
Percentage of full-time caregivers at all-time high
The Former chairman of the Florida Bar Family Law Section said he has spent time with House Rules Chairman Workman on drafting a new bill where groups on both sides have been asked for their inputs. According to Jan Killilea of First Wives First says that legislators should make sure that divorced caregivers should be well protected and not left stranded. Killilea has been at the forefront of protecting caregivers from losing alimony.
A recent Pew Research Center study indicates that the percentage of US moms who are full-time caregivers is at its highest, which according to the study is currently 29%.