By: Garin Flowers
Tallahassee, Fla. -- Florida lawmakers are trying to change the way the state awards alimony.
They say the new changes will give families more certainty.
Many of them believe one spouse should not have to pay the other for the rest of their lifetime after a divorce. This new bill could make that happen.
Many Floridians have stories of divorce within their families, and several state representatives shared theirs Thursday evening.
"It shows that this bill isn't anti-woman or this bill isn't a republican or a democrat issue, this bill is a pro-family, pro-kid piece of legislation and I'm really proud to be a part of it," Rep. Ritch Workman, (R) Melbourne, FL, said.
The house approved the reform Bill 85 to 31. Rep. Ritch Workman was a sponsor of it in the house.
"85 members of the Florida house voted, it's bi-partisan, it's actually super majority, makes the bill relatively veto proof which is exciting for me," Workman said.
The bill does give judges full discretion to make a decision on what they see fit for alimony. If the governor signs the legislation, it will take affect July 1, 2013.
The bill let's ex-spouses petition a judge to lower or end alimony payments upon retirement.
It also gets rid of permanent alimony, makes it harder to get alimony in short-term marriages and sets limits on the percentages of monthly income that could be awarded.
Representative Stafford dissented the bill and expressed her concerns.
"It gives an unfair advantage or protects the person paying and is unfair to the person receiving alimony," Rep. Cynthia Stafford, (D) Miami, FL, said.
Either way, the bill now goes to Governor Rick Scott's desk.