SOURCE: Florida Alimony Reform

Florida Alimony Reform

November 21, 2011 10:49 ET

Florida Divorce Lawyers and Orlando Sentinel's Maxwell Admit Problems With Alimony Laws -- Florida Alimony Reform Group Invites Collaboration on Fixing Problems

TRAVARES, FL--(Marketwire - Nov 21, 2011) - Florida Alimony Reform (FAR), the state's leading organization fighting to bring the state's alimony laws into the 21st century, issued an invitation today to the three divorce lawyers interviewed in Scott Maxwell's Orlando Sentinel column yesterday, to discuss reforms they admit are needed to current alimony laws.,0,2195586.column

"I was thrilled to read that these three attorneys understand there are real problems with current law," says FAR's co-director, Alan Frisher, "and I think it could be extremely productive for all of us to sit down and figure out how to fix these problems. In the meantime, Florida Alimony Reform supports the identical bills just introduced in the House and Senate. The bills are fair, reasonable, and they meet the current problems head on."

In his column, Scott Maxwell slammed the bills -- SB 748/HB 549 -- and presented the three lawyers' criticisms of them without rebuttal, including that of Terry Young, who once represented Tiger Woods' wife.

Their comments ranged from bad to worse, says FAR's Mr. Frisher. "One lawyer said that the proposals are 'anti-women and anti-alimony.' I beg to differ. Current law is anti-family. Another lawyer said that the proposals aim to 'handcuff judges.' I beg to differ. Judges now have unlimited discretion, and a law that gives them no firm guidance. This leads to abuses, including healthy 33-year-women receiving permanent alimony."

The lawyers Maxwell interviewed claim that while there are "horror stories," those stories are not the norm. Mr. Frisher begs to differ on that point too, and invites Scott Maxwell and the divorce lawyers to read FAR's publication, "The Shame of Florida: Horror Stories from the Sunshine State," a collection of 33 stories taken from FAR members who pay permanent alimony.

"These stories are just the tip of the iceberg," says Mr. Frisher. "We get calls and emails every day from people with stories just as disturbing as these. Our members are schoolteachers, police officers, airline pilots, and men in their late 70s, paying alimony to women who deserted them decades ago. Another serious problem is what we call 'the second wives.' Women who marry alimony payors can be forced to use their own income and assets to pay permanent alimony to a person they have never even met. This keeps people from marrying. It is hugely unfair. It's anti-woman and anti-marriage."

Pointing to the bills introduced by Sen. Miguel Diaz de la Portilla (Miami-Dade) and Rep. Ritch Workman (Brevard), Mr. Frisher explains that, "Florida Alimony Reform is not opposed to alimony. We believe strongly that alimony can be necessary for either party, and that it should be based on the actual needs and means of the parties, and the length of the marriage. The goal should be for couples to end their failed relationship once they divorce. Current law favoring permanent alimony forces divorced people to become bitter enemies until they die, returning to divorce court when circumstances change."

"In Massachusetts, divorce lawyers, judges, and citizens sat down and hammered out a bill that fixes the abuses and protects all the parties," says Frisher. "After hearing that these three lawyers recognize the need for reform, I am hopeful we can do the same in Florida."

Florida Alimony Reform is a 501 (c) 4 corporation made up of citizens across Florida, affected by the state's unfair alimony laws. Please visit the website to learn more about current alimony, to read the proposed legislation and to read "The Shame of Florida: Horror Stories from the Sunshine State."

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