The Florida Legislature has before it proposed legislation to finally overhaul our state’s outdated permanent-alimony laws. Florida is one of the few states that still allows a former spouse to receive a lifetime of support, even after a short-term marriage to a healthy spouse of 10 years or less.
Additionally, should an alimony payer remarry, the system can allow the former spouse the ability to drag the ex back into court to get an alimony modification, since the new spouse’s income and assets can now be taken into consideration for an adjustment upward.
All of this makes former spouses permanent litigants, much to the delight of the family-law attorneys who enjoy continuous legal fees as a result of our outdated system, which dates back to the 1950s.
With women outnumbering men in terms of advanced college degrees and with more women being hit with permanent alimony themselves, the Legislature should to take action this year.
House Bill 231, sponsored by Rep. Ritch Workman, R-Melbourne, and Senate Bill 718 sponsored by Sen. Kelli Stargel, R-Lakeland, are making their way through the Legislature. Massachusetts completely overhauled its outdated laws in 2011 without a single dissenting vote in either chamber of its state legislature.
It’s time for Florida’s legislators to do the same and fix our broken system down here.
Terrance Power, member, Core Committee, Florida Alimony Reform, Clearwater