SOURCE: Florida Alimony Reform

Florida Alimony Reform

December 07, 2011 16:39 ET

Members of Florida Alimony Reform Group Tell Their Personal Stories of Hardship and Unfair Treatment to Florida's House Civil Justice Subcommittee

Florida Alimony Reform Bill Has Broad Support in Subcommittee: Lawmakers Sympathetic to Hardship of Lifetime Payers

TALLAHASSEE, FL--(Marketwire - Dec 7, 2011) - More than a dozen members of Florida Alimony Reform (http://www.floridaalimonyreform.com) (FAR) traveled from around the state to testify today in favor of a bill that would update Florida's antiquated alimony laws. FAR members spoke movingly before the House Civil Justice Subcommittee about the extraordinary hardships they endure paying permanent lifetime alimony that does not end even at retirement, even when payers are disabled or forced to retire by age. The Subcommittee voted out the bill, HB 549, with only two no's, and it now continues through the system, sponsored by Rep. Ritch Workman (R-Brevard). An identical bill was introduced in the Senate by Sen. Miguel Diaz de la Portilla (R-Miami Dade).

"I'm extremely pleased with today's hearing and the votes," said FAR Co-Director, Alan Frisher. "It's clear from the widespread support for this bill that alimony reform is urgently needed." FAR is the state's leading advocate for updating Florida's antiquated alimony laws, considered among the most out-of-date in the country.

Among the speakers in support of HB 549 were a dentist paying permanent alimony to his ex-wife, who is also a working dentist; a Tampa man with throat cancer paying over 80% of his income in permanent alimony; a woman who wants to marry her partner of 12 years but fears her assets could be included in revised alimony payments; a Broward County man who began paying lifetime alimony to a healthy 33-year-old woman ten years ago, as he raises their three children and she cohabits with another man; a Pensacola man who has been bankrupted once and is on the verge of a second bankruptcy; a pediatrician who hopes to retire at 66 but knows he might have to spend upwards of $50,000 on legal fees, with no guarantee that alimony will end; and a Miami man paying $4000 a month and has no money with which to help his grown children.

During debate following the testimony, Rep. Darren Soto (FL 49), said that the current system discourages remarriage, and that more defined criteria are needed for judges. He pointed out that "not a single payee came out today to defend getting alimony because it would be tough to keep a straight face."

Rep. Matt Gaetz (FL 4) said that he was supporting the bill because he was "so moved" by the testimony.

HB 549 main features provide specific rules for judges to determine the amount and duration of alimony; give alimony payers the right to meaningful retirement; revise cohabitation standards; prohibits the court's use of a girlfriend's or second wife's income in determining alimony modifications; and give current payers the right to modify their alimony awards based on the new law.

To read a copy of the bill and "The Shame of Florida: Horror Stories from the Sunshine State," please visit FAR's website: http://www.floridaalimonyreform.com.

Contact Information

  • CONTACT:
    Alan Frisher, CDFA
    Co-Director, Florida Alimony Reform
    Email Contact
    352-577-5706