News Release: Family Law Reform
TALLAHASSEE, FLA (March 6, 2014) – Family Law Reform (FLR), the grassroots organization responsible for the Florida Alimony Reform bill, just learned there will be no legislation filed during the 2014 session.
“I am beyond saddened that this bill will not become a reality,” said FLR president Alan Frisher. “Our proposed bill was good legislation. It protected our citizens and corrected inconsistencies in Florida law. I want to thank all of our 9,000 members and especially our executive board. Without them we wouldn’t have gotten this far.”
Bill sponsors Rep. Ritch Workman and Senator Kelli Stargel say that legislation aiming to cut taxes for Floridians is the main focus this session, so it will be more beneficial to pursue alimony reform next year where lawmakers can give it the attention it deserves.
“The legislature is dedicated to creating a broad based $500 million tax cut for Floridians this session. Such expansive efforts tend to consume a session. Hence, I feel this is not the year for in depth reform,” said Rep. Ritch Workman. “I believe our system of alimony is broken in this state and must be reformed. I am continuing to study and work with all interested parties on a comprehensive reform package. I plan on filing this bill next legislative session.”
Senator Stargel said, “I agreed to sponsor alimony reform legislation because I believe we need a fair way to deal with this very emotional issue. Even though 2014 will not be our year, I will continue to work on this important issue.”
Frisher, a financial advisor and certified divorce financial analyst, became involved with the cause when he experienced firsthand how current alimony law in Florida caused immense hardship for those who had to support an ex-spouse until death, regardless of circumstances.
Even though there will not be a bill this year, Family Law Reform is already gearing up for the next session with a showing of Divorce Corp. in Tallahassee to help legislators understand the need for alimony reform. Divorce Corp. is a controversial documentary, narrated by Dr. Drew about the $50 billion-a-year U.S. Family Court system that exposes the harsh truths of divorce. Numerous key legislators have already signed up to attend the March 12 showing at 7 p.m. at the Four Points by Sheraton in downtown Tallahassee.
“We’ve been working toward reform for several years now, and I believe we can learn from the politics we’ve seen unfold to prepare for 2015,” added Frisher.
Founded in 2010, Family Law Reform, Inc. is a nonprofit corporation created to change our state's antiquated alimony laws. Based in Tavares, Florida, FLR represents more than 9,000 families across Florida. For more information about Family Law Reform, please visit www.FamilyLawReformUSA.com.
By: Mike Vasilinda
Governor Rick Scott has vetoed alimony reform legislation that advocates describe as unfriendly to women and families. One more day remains in the legislative session in Tallahassee and the bill’s sponsor is doing his best to save the majority of the legislation.
Governor Rick Scott has been married 41 years. He even tweeted the message on April 19th. Hours after vetoing an alimony reform bill, the Governor told us he was unhappy with the retroactivity clause in the bill. “You can go back and review prior agreements.”, says Governor Scott.
Reporter: “Was it hard for you to reach, just to even hear the other side just because of the fact that you’ve been married so long. Did that play a role in this?”
Governor Scott: “I think you look at everything based on your own experiences. But you try, I try to listen.”
The Senate sponsor says she will not try to override the veto, even though more than two thirds of the Senate voted yes. “The winners in this issues, basically the ones who won were the attorneys.”, says Sen. Kelli Stargel, R-Lakeland.
Women’s advocates are ecstatic.
“It’s hard to organize the women who were scared to death if this bill passes, because they’re scared to speak out. So, I’m elated that the Governor saw, as we do, this is a very radical bill. “, says Sot: Barbara Devane, National Organization for Women.
But the fight may not be over. Now, efforts are under way to take the language that the Governor did not object to, amend it to another bill, and try to get it back through the process before the end of Friday.
Representative Rich Workman is making a last minute attempt to save everything but the retroactivity in the bill.
“I’m giving the opportunity to perhaps have another crack at the apple this year where we give the Governor the part of the bill he liked.”, says House Sponsor Rep. Rich Workman, R-Brevard.
But with an election on his mind, even a pared down alimony bill is not likely to sit well with Scott.
Associated Press Release
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- Gov. Rick Scott has vetoed a bill that would have ended permanent alimony in Florida.
Scott vetoed the bill (SB 718) on Wednesday -- just four hours before the midnight deadline to approve or veto the bill. The bill automatically would have become law if Scott had done nothing by then.
Florida also would have set limits on the amount of alimony and how long one would receive financial support from an ex-spouse.
The bill would have made it harder to get alimony in short-term marriages. And it would have prevented alimony payments from lasting longer than one-half of the length of the marriage.
The bill also would have required judges to give divorced parents equal custody of their children absent extraordinary circumstances.