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Women’s rights groups to rally in Tally against alimony bill

A coalition of women’s groups including the National Organization for Women, the League of Women Voters, Breastfeeding Coalition, National Council of Jewish Women and UniteWomen FL will all rally in Tallahassee on Tuesday against Senate Bill 668, a family law measure awaiting Governor Rick Scott‘s signature.

The new statute would give judges a formula to use in deciding alimony payments in Florida and, more controversially, would specify a premise that a minor child should spend about equal amounts of time with each parent.

The Family Law Section of the Florida Bar supports the alimony portion of the bill, but not the child-sharing component.

The measure has generated both strong support – and opposition – as advocates on both sides await the governor’s decision.

“The media conference is being hosted to sway Governor Scott to veto this bill,” said Jacksonville family law attorney Heather Quick.

Speakers at the event, which begins at 10:45 a.m. on the steps between the new and old state Capitols, include Quick, NOW’s Barbara DeVane, and Polk County Judge Robert Doyel.

“Not only will alimony be affected by the proposed legislation, but also timesharing,” Quick said. “The bill is calling for a 50/50 timeshare split. This affects child support payments.  More timesharing equals less payments. Regardless if the child is more bonded with one parent over another, or if one parent works longer hours, or if the parent has emotional or substance abuse issues — there will be an equal split. The kids should have a say in whom they want to live with. And that person should be able to afford their clothing, food and activities.  We must ask ourselves ‘What is in the best interest of the child?’ “

Scott vetoed an earlier version of the proposal three years ago, but changes have been made to the legislation in the interim.

Written By

In addition to her work writing for Florida Politics, Melissa Ross also hosts and produces WJCT’s First Coast Connect, the Jacksonville NPR/PBS station’s flagship local call-in public affairs radio program. The show has won four national awards from Public Radio News Directors Inc. (PRNDI). First Coast Connect was also recognized in 2010, 2011, 2013 and 2014 as Best Local Radio Show by Folio Weekly’s “Best Of Jax” Readers Poll and Melissa has also been recognized as Folio Weekly’s Best Local Radio Personality. As executive producer of The 904: Shadow on the Sunshine State, Melissa and WJCT received an Emmy in the “Documentary” category at the 2011 Suncoast Emmy Awards. The 904 examined Jacksonville’s status as Florida’s murder capital. During her years in broadcast television, Melissa picked up three additional Emmys for news and feature reporting. Melissa came to WJCT in 2009 with 20 years of experience in broadcasting, including stints in Cincinnati, Chicago, Orlando and Jacksonville. Married with two children, Melissa is a graduate of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism/Communications. She can be reached at m.ross66211@gmail.com.

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