Florida Alimony Reform May Not End With the Governor’s Veto

Divorce and alimony payments have been the source of quite a bit of debate in Florida this year due to a Senate bill reforming the system. The main goal of the bill was to reform Florida alimony standards which included ending permanent alimony. Despite the bill´s popularity with many Floridians and lawmakers, Governor Rick Scott vetoed it on May 1, 2013. While some may view the gubernatorial veto as an end to the issue, other lawmakers, like Rep. Ritch Workman, vow that the fight for reform will continue.

In a recent interview, Rep. Workman answered questions about his continued fight for reform. When asked to explain why he felt so strongly about the issue, he cited the education and resulting success of modern women. With today´s women just as capable of obtaining a good education and a well-paying job as a result of that education, he feels that the time for permanent alimony is nearly over.

He goes on to state that he wants to work toward a more refined definition for short and long-term marriages, thus ending many of the subjective alimony arrangements. Under his plan, a short-term marriage would be considered a marriage lasting under 11 years, while a long-term marriage would be two-tiered with one category for marriages lasting 11-20 years and another category for marriages lasting over 20 years. According to this plan, judges would use these three categories as a guide for deciding whether to award alimony and for deciding how much should be awarded and for how long.

The plan to reform the alimony standards in Florida may on hold once again pending further discussions with the governor. However, it is still a good idea for anyone considering a divorce to keep an eye on upcoming legislation. An understanding of the current laws will help as one goes through the divorce process.