Alimony and Custody Changes in Store For Florida Law

The new Alimony Reform Bill passed in the Florida House by the vote of 85 to 31. The Bill will now go to the Governor for his signature in order for it to become law.

The Florida Legislature has passed a bill that will drastically change if not eliminate permanent alimony payments and even allow the courts to modify existing alimony orders between ex-spouses. The bill would also affect child custody arrangements and require judges to award divorced parents equal custody of their children, unless there were extraordinary circumstances.

Florida Governor Rick Scott has not said if he will sign the bill, which would not eliminate alimony but would severely limit it. The bill passed the Senate by a 29-11 vote.

Many Florida family law lawyers are opposed to the bill, as are current alimony recipients.

The bill would limit alimony payments from lasting more than half the length of the marriage. The amount of alimony would be capped based on the paying spouses income, and could terminate upon retirement.

The custody provision for shared custody may be equally troubling. Judges have traditionally avoided a split custody arrangement because it can be hard on the children as well as the spouses. Children end up going from house to house every other week or twice a week, which becomes disruptive to school and after school activities and lacks continuity.

Stay tuned to see if the Governor signs the bill into law and then look for the legal challenges to be filed by divorce lawyers. Click the link below to see the full text of the bill;

http://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2013/0718/BillText/e2/PDF

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