In February, an alimony reform bill failed to pass through the Florida state legislature. This disheartened many Florida residents, especially divorced men who are currently paying permanent alimony to ex-wives that may or may not need the income. While the bill may not have passed this time, Florida alimony reform groups continue to fight for a new law.
In many states, for many years it was almost second-nature for permanent alimony to be awarded in some divorce cases. With permanent alimony, the ex-spouse continues to receive alimony until death. It doesn't matter if the individual is professionally employed, has no children to take care of or is living with a new partner that can offer financial support. Proponents of alimony reform say it is even common for permanent alimony to be awarded to women in marriages of fewer than 10 years.
One man, the leader of the New Jersey Alimony Reform, went to school to get his Ph.D. while his wife supported him. Then the roles reversed, and he supported her while she got her Ph.D. The marriage didn't last, and when they went to get a divorce, he was shocked to find out there wouldn't be a 50-50 division of property. Instead, he was required to pay lifetime alimony. Massachusetts recently passed an alimony reform bill, and Florida alimony reform supporters hope their state will be next.
Regardless of whether or not one wants to pay alimony, it is still a relevant factor in many divorce cases. Attempts at alimony reform will likely continue in Florida and elsewhere. Those potentially affected would do well to follow the debate to understand how any proposed changes might affect their own legal rights and responsibilities.