Family Law Prof Blog

Editor: Margaret Ryznar
Indiana University
Robert H. McKinney School of Law

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Alimony Overhaul Hits Florida Governor's Desk

From The News-Press:

Southwest Florida family law attorneys said legislation that rewrites Florida's divorce statutes, which is awaiting the attention of Gov. Rick Scott, could have major impacts positive and negative on alimony, child-support payments and time-sharing of children.

The proposal, the second time lawmakers have sent what is basically an alimony overhaul to Scott, sets out a formula for judges to use when deciding alimony payments and is without a retroactivity provision that the governor blamed in part for his 2013 veto.

The bill replaces permanent alimony with new formulas based on the length of the marriage and the spouses' incomes. Those formulas help set the amount and duration of the payments.

It also advises judges to implement equal time-sharing of children between parents. But backers said it allows judges discretion to deviate from the time-sharing and alimony formulas depending on circumstances.


"Its kind of a good thing. There's been no structure for alimony,"  said attorney Augustin "Gus" Simmons of the Simmons Law Firm in Fort Myers of the overhaul legislation.

"It gives attorney's some sort of ability to predict ranges to their clients," he said. The current statute defining alimony says nothing about amounts, Simmons said, leading to lawyers hiring out forensic accountants to divine just what people involved in their cases make.

He said that the doing away of permanent alimony isn't surprising as changes in society have taken hold. "Permanent alimony has been on the outs for some time," he said. "Marriages are not lasting as long, people are getting married later in life."

Read more here.

Maintenance (alimony) | Permalink


Governor Rick Scott should sign SB 668 into law.

Four years ago, my ex-wife and I divorced. She petitioned for permanent alimony. Fair is fair, we were married for 18 years.

Currently I am paying $1000 per month, HALF of my Social Security Disability Income, as permanent alimony to my ex-spouse. My ex-spouse is a healthy, educated and employed PHYSICIAN.

She receives HALF of my Social Security Disability Income. Meanwhile, my ex-spouse pays ME less than $100 per month child support. This is not nearly fair.

Current alimony laws are extremely inequitable. Child support is formula based and time limited, but alimony amounts and durations are at the whim of the judge.

The same judge who awarded me child support until our son is 18, awarded my physician ex-wife permanent alimony despite her greater income.

Alimony discourages both the payor and recipient from working, achieving their potential or remarriage. Temporary assistance is certainly needed by some to transition from married to single, but it must be equitable and certainly not permanent.

This is a fairness issue, not a man/woman issue, not a rich/poor issue, not a young/old issue and not a black/white issue. Men and women are equally able to work in today’s society and equally able to pay alimony. Our society has changed and so must our laws.

Posted by: Maurice Ramirez | Mar 29, 2016 9:55:09 AM

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