Florida alimony laws might be changing

On behalf of Furr & Cohen, P.A. posted in Family Law on Friday, February 27, 2015.

Most of our Florida readers probably remember when Governor Rick Scott vetoed the alimony bill in 2013 that would have stopped permanent alimony. In that case, he vetoed it because he felt it was unfair because it would take effect retroactively. Supporters of that bill might be excited to learn that a new alimony bill is making its way through the legislature, but this one doesn’t include the retroactive clause. That means that Gov. Scott is more likely to sign this one into law.

The new alimony bill almost completely overhauls the old alimony system. New alimony payments would be based on a formula that some are comparing to the child support formula. The amount of alimony payments and the length of time they are made would depend on a variety of factors, but the judges would have guidelines to rely upon to determine the appropriate alimony order.

Permanent alimony would be eliminated in the new bill. Every alimony order would have to include a start date and an end date. Even people who opposed the previous proposal seem to be supporting the new plan. Those include the head of Floridians for Alimony Reform and a representative of the Florida Bar Family Law Section.

The proposal would also discourage an alimony recipient lying about their living arrangements. If it is found that a person lies about living with someone, that person would have to repay the alimony payments made while they were living that lie. They would also be responsible for paying attorney’s fees.

Both sides of the issue are seemingly ready to put aside differences and make changes to the current alimony laws. If this bill passes, the sweeping changes could be significantly affect cases.

Source: Tampa Bay Times, “Florida lawmaker prepares alimony overhaul bill” Feb. 14, 2015