Alimony was the subject of heated controversy last year in Florida after Governor Rick Scott vetoed an alimony reform bill sent to him for signature. At issue in the 2016 alimony bill was a clause in the bill concerning mandatory 50/50 time sharing of children. Advocates for both sides of the issue fought long and hard over the bill and there is no reason to think a new bill will be any less controversial or incite less argument.
It appears likely that a new reform bill will be introduced in this year’s upcoming legislative session that will be similar to last year’s bill without the controversial clause concerning mandatory 50/50 time sharing. While a 50/50 parental sharing agreement would be ideal in ideal situations, the particular circumstances make it hard to apply such a measure in every case.
Presently, the state’s divorce laws allow alimony awards to vary significantly in each divorce case. By reforming the structure of alimony laws, unexpected rulings could be eliminated, making it much easier for individuals to know what to expect when heading to court for divorce. Right now, the spousal support issues are generally at the discretion of the individual judge which makes it difficult for divorcing couples to plan for the future or what to expect from a court ruling.
One of the issues that may come up in the new legislative session concerns permanent alimony. There are those who would like to see permanent alimony abolished entirely. Under current Florida divorce law, permanent alimony may be awarded in marriages that lasted more than 17 years.
If you are considering a divorce in Florida, spousal support issues are one of the most important issues to discuss with your divorce lawyer who should have a keen interest in any legislation that will affect divorce and alimony cases in the future.