Alimony Reform - Stay Tuned...
In the next few weeks, our Florida Legislatures will be convening for their annual legislative session in Tallahassee. Hundreds of bills and legislative proposals on a variety of issues will be addressed in subcommittee meetings and by the State House and Senate as a whole during the session in March and April. For Florida family law attorneys, family law trial judges, and for potential litigants in dissolution of marriage cases across our state, one House Bill that will be of significance to keep an eye on is the alimony reform bill of 2015. There has not been too much information that has been revealed, at this time, regarding the proposed changes to Florida’s alimony statute; however, what we do know from recent statements made to the Florida News Service by legislator Ritch Workman from Melbourne, Florida, is that one of the biggest proposed changes is to have a specific formula for the determination of alimony. This would be similar to how child support is calculated in Florida. The specifics of the mathematical alimony formula is what is currently unknown, and appears to still be a work in progress by the bill’s legislative sponsors. Currently under the alimony provisions of the dissolution of marriage statute in our state, there is no formula, per se, but rather a laundry list of factors to consider by the courts when determining if, how much and for how long alimony should be awarded to a spouse. Another significant part of the current proposal is that alimony payments would be reduced when the paying spouse reaches age 62.
Since 2013, when there was a first, failed attempt at major alimony reform by the Florida Legislature, the people working on the new bill have been also hearing from and working closely with groups on both sides of the fence on the issue- mainly the Family Law Section of the Florida Bar and Floridians for Alimony Reform. From what Representative Workman recently stated to the Florida News Service, the new proposed bill and it terms for amendments to the alimony statute appear to have the support of both sides. Again, there are still many details and aspects of the new proposal that we are not aware of at this time, but we will know in a very short period of time whether we will have a major revamping of the alimony statute in the state of Florida. The pulse on the issue from many in the field seems to suggest that the reform bill will be passed and approved by the Governor. Stay tuned.
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