The New Florida Alimony Reform and How It Impacts You
As we write this, the Florida House of Representatives is about to pass legislation that will greatly change existing divorce laws for just about everyone in our State. Florida House Bill 231, which comes on the heels of passage of the related Senate Bill 718, will become law once the Governor signs it.
Some of the revisions include, among other things:
- redefining how assets and debts are divided in dissolution of marriage cases;
- deleting permanent alimony awards;
- re-defining what long term, mid-term and short marriage mean;
- establishing guidelines on how alimony is to be awarded; and,
- providing for the retirement of a party against whom alimony is sought.
Further, a related bill in the Florida Senate, SB 1466, is also coming up for a vote. This bill recommends major modifications to present timesharing (formally known as “visitation”) laws. This bill would allow both parents to have 50/50 equal timesharing in every case (with very few exceptions). Under current laws, the parties and/or the Court determine what timesharing schedule best serves their minor children’s interest. A lot of people are opposed to this change because 50/50 timesharing does not work in many families.
These new bills have been led by a group known as Alimony Reform, Inc., a grassroots organization made up of mainly divorced husbands and second wives of alimony payers. For many years, they have been determined to change what they called “Florida’s archaic alimony laws.”
Many people have called the planned reforms unfair and discriminatory against women. The Family Law Section of the Florida Bar, a group of divorce and family law attorneys, also opposes this legislation.
If the bill is passed and signed into law, it may go into effect on July 1, 2013. Some of the provisions regarding alimony are retroactive, meaning you may be able to go back to Court and modify existing alimony obligations. However, changes to timesharing are supposed to be enacted prospectively (meaning for any new cases filed on or after July 1, 2013) and will not apply to any existing or previous orders and judgments entered before the bill becomes law.
If you are considering divorce or have been divorced and/or have children, NOW is the time to consult the attorneys at MAYNOR SACHS COPPLE to see how these new laws may affect you, especially if you:
- have to pay permanent alimony to a former spouse;
- are nearing retirement age;
- have a home that passively appreciated during the marriage; and/or
- have child(ren).
Contact us as soon as possible to schedule a consultation with one of our knowledgeable and professional divorce and family law attorneys.