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Alimony in the state of Florida

Image: Divorce, orlandoweekly.com
Image: Divorce, orlandoweekly.com

This week, the state Legislature sent a bill to the governor that would change the way alimony works in the state of Florida. The measure would put an end to permanent support for former spouses and alter the way alimony is decided in the state according to a predetermined formula that takes into account on how long a marriage lasted and the difference in gross incomes between former partners.

The argument for the bill is that men are unfairly burdened with alimony payments, sometimes for longer than a marriage lasted.

As usual, the devil is in the details, and the details here include reductions not only in the amount of time that alimony lasts, but how much money judges may grant. The bill would allow alimony agreements to be reduced if a former spouse gets a raise. It would no longer require a former spouse to move in with or marry a new partner in order for alimony to end – just being in a relationship with somebody believed to offer financial support could be enough to terminate alimony. The bill also insists on 50-50 child sharing between parents rather than naming one parent the child’s custodian. What it means is that both parents are raising the kids, so no parent receives automatic child-support, even if one parent ends up with the bulk of parenting costs and responsibilities.

As Anne Dwyer of Longwood wrote to us recently, the bill hurts more than just women who spent most of their best working years raising kids and enabling their husbands to focus on their careers – it also is bound to have an impact on taxpayers.

“This should be a concern for all Floridians,” she says, “because these women will be forced to turn to the state for housing and food stamps.”

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