House Passes Alimony Overhaul Bill
by Associated Press
Tallahassee, FL -- February 23, 2012 --
The Florida House has passed a bill intended to overhaul what some critics say is the state's antiquated alimony law.
Rep. Ritch Workman's bill (HB 549) Thursday was passed by the House on an 83-30 vote.
The Melbourne Republican said the measure will ensure alimony is fair to both ex-spouses. It would end "permanent" lifetime alimony in favor of "long-term" support that has a foreseeable end.
But it also allows for retroactively changing alimony payments such that the ex-spouse getting the support could wind up owing money back.
The bill now goes to the Senate.
Alimony Could Be Changing
by Mike Vasilinda
Tallahassee, FL -- February 16, 2012 --
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 with similar stories 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,” says Workman. “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 from 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,” she says.
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.
Bill Aims to Overhaul Florida Alimony Law
by Associated Press
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- A House panel has given the green light to a bill that would overhaul what critics say is the state's antiquated alimony law.
Rep. Ritch Workman's bill (HB 549) cleared the House Judiciary Committee by a 17-1 vote. The Melbourne Republican said the measure would ensure alimony is fair to both ex-spouses.
It would end "permanent" lifetime alimony in favor of "long-term" support that has a foreseeable end. A man with the Florida Alimony Reform group told the committee he was still paying alimony to his wife decades after their divorce because she refuses to work.
But a representative of the Florida Bar's family law section said the bill had flaws and asked Workman to continue working with him on a rewrite. A similar bill is in the Senate.