Alimony reform goes to Fla. governor

File image courtesy Tom Harpel from Seattle, WA, via Wikimedia Commons

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Capitol News Service) – Controversial legislation that either turns alimony upside down or provides certainty to divorcing parents is on its way to the Governor for his signature. As Mike Vasilinda tells us, opponents will now pressure Governor Rick Scott to veto the legislation.

Permanent alimony goes away, replaced by a formula based on the years married and spouses income under the legislation on its way to the Governor. Opponents piled on, trying to raise doubts.

“The language is ambiguous,” said Rep. Lori Berman.

“We retroactively tampered with as far as the alimony concern” exclaimed Rep. Joe Geller.

Democrats tried to add a provision that the bill was not retroactive, but Republicans blocked it.

The legislation does allow the payor of alimony to seek a change if the receiver’s income increases by ten percent or more. Rep. Cynthia Stafford says it will hit women harder since they are the recipient 97 percent of the time.

“If there is an increase in the payor’s income, things will not change. But increases in the recipients income is a grounds for reduction. This is one-sided and unfair” says Stafford.

Also controversial is a premise that kids should spend equal time with each parent. The legislation is personal for Rep. Rich Workman. He started the reform effort four years ago after he divorced.

“There is no perfect language when dealing with child custody. There isn’t.trust me, I’ve had enough of  a fight over this the last couple of years” Workman told House members.

The legislation moves to a very uncertain future with Governor Rick Scott. He vetoed a bill in 2013 that specifically said it was retroactive. But there are enough questions about this bill to at least cause Scott some concerns.

While this legislation does not specifically mention retroactivity, changes in income allow parties to go back to court to change existing agreements.

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