Ready to rumble? Alimony reform bill filed for 2019

divorce
Welcome back one of the most contentious policy battles in the Capitol.

Lawmakers could again wrestle with alimony reform this year as the issue’s first bill – including a provision to end “permanent alimony” – was filed Friday.

First-term Sen. Gayle Harrell, a Stuart Republican, is sponsoring the 28-page measure (SB 1596). As yet, there’s no companion bill in the House, and her measure has not been assigned to any committees.

Efforts to overhaul alimony law, mostly by toughening the standards by which alimony is granted and changed, have failed in the last few years.

But, if alimony bills move this Session, it could again spark one of the most contentious policy battles the Florida statehouse has seen in recent memory.

The argument historically runs along these lines: The former spouses who write the checks say permanent alimony, or “forever alimony,” isn’t fair to them. Their exes counter that they shouldn’t be penalized, for example, after staying home for years to raise children only to find difficulty, if not impossibility, in re-entering the workplace.

In 2016, reform advocates shouted down opponents of that year’s bill in the hall outside and lobby of what was then Gov. Rick Scott’s Capitol office.

Indeed, family-law related bills had trouble getting Scott’s signature even as lawmakers tried for years to change the way Florida’s courts award alimony.

Scott had vetoed another attempt in 2013 because he called it retroactive and so it “tamper(ed) with the settled economic expectations of many Floridians who have experienced divorce.”

Among other things, Harrell’s measure requires someone “seeking alimony (to) prove by clear and convincing evidence that the (ex-spouse) has the ability to pay alimony,” and that person “has the burden of proof of demonstrating a need for alimony.”

It also aims to protect ex-spouses’ Social Security retirement benefits and would make it easier for retired people to pay less alimony. But it also creates a “a rebuttable presumption in favor of awarding alimony for a long-term marriage” ending in divorce.

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Background for this post provided by Senior Editor Jim Rosica in Tallahassee.

Staff Reports


64 comments

  • Charles Brown

    March 2, 2019 at 1:09 pm

    It is time to end this archaic system in Florida. No one deserves lifetime alimony if they are able to get a job. The man, who is usually burdened with this unfair system, should not have to. Carry this woman just because she woll not work.

  • Your worst nightmare

    March 3, 2019 at 7:03 am

    It is time to end this once and for all. End alimony? No! End the men’s rights hate groups and their incessant desire to continue controlling and abusing their ex spouses and anyone else they catch in their cross hairs. End the bullying and harassment of older former spouses. End the bullying and harassment of those not receiving or paying alimony, but they have chosen to stand up for what is right. And especially end the harassment and bullying of children who are also caught in the cross hairs, simply because they are speaking out for themselves and those they love.

    Don’t allow the moneyed and hateful alimony ‘reformers’ to continue dictating and controlling their former spouse by lying in court about income and assets, hiding income with their new boyfriend/girlfriend.

    If you want real reform that will boost our economy and lift these alimony receivers up, work on enforcing these decrees. Take licenses. Freezebank accounts. Jail these non payors and penalize those who would lie for them with civil contempt, penalties and fines.

    And finally work on the hate crimes committed by these reformers on a daily basis. Sadly we were so close to having one of these ‘men’ representing a part of Florida up in Tallahassee (and yes there is proof that this former candidate who was almost 100,000 in arrears in spousal maintenance/alimony, and he was nearly successful in turning their children against their mother. He is now on the run from a writ of attachment for these arrears and for ‘playing’ the judge. He ‘moved’ to Texas in order to try to stop the payments to his ex wife, in a late term marriage that lasted almost 20 years. She stayed home with their children so that he could advance his career. He seems to be doing well. Flies every time he wants to go more than a 3 hour drive away. Goes on multiple vacations a year. And ‘loaned’ his campaign almost 100,000 dollars when he ran for state office.

    Then you have the flip side of this bill and the people representing on that side. A woman with multiple arrests, one of which is a felony armed robbery charge when she and her associates held up a best buy at knifepoint.

    Lovely people we have here folks.

    • LmC

      March 3, 2019 at 9:24 pm

      Well now sounds like YOU should follow your own words. You seem to have no problem strapping on one when it comes to money, how about you strapping on one for responsibility and integrity. You need to earn your own way in life or did your parents not teach you that either? This is why it is imperative to make people responsible for their own actions and yes you too were a cause of the divorce. Takes two to make and break.

    • lMC

      March 3, 2019 at 9:34 pm

      Your name speaks for itself, one of many reasons your spouse has left YOU. You seem to have Toni difficulty strapping one on when it comes to someone cutting into your unearned welfare. Why don’t you put this effort into becoming a person with character and integrity, and find a job and be a productive part of society, be a role model for your children not a begging fool .

      • Your worst nightmare

        March 4, 2019 at 2:20 pm

        You don’t know much. I left him. After he put a gun to my head and pulled the trigger. And I have a job. Full time. In fact this week I will likely get OT as I do many weeks. Except when either I or my child is sick.

    • TJ

      March 4, 2019 at 11:39 pm

      You think Texas alimony laws are unfair?!?!?! A spouse that raises kids and works is a choice. A spouse that raises kids and sits at home is a choice. A spouse that works 9-5, parties with friends and squanders his paycheck pays minimal to the ex in a divorce. The spouse that works diligently, slaves, and saves pays out the wazoo to the sit at home ex spouse. You make no logical case. Lift alimony receivers up? When you subsidize laziness and foster entitlement, guess what you get?

  • Alan Elkins

    March 3, 2019 at 9:59 am

    What the proposed bill seeks is balancing act in the payment of alimony between the payor and payee. The bill does not favor one gender over another. We don’t live in the same world that we did generation ago. The number of women paying man spousal support continues to increase.
    We are looking for consistency in awards of spousal support and a recognition that there has to be a responsibility on the part of the payee to make an effort to become self-supporting. We are not anti-alimony, we are anti-permanent alimony as a general rule.

  • Lee Kallett

    March 3, 2019 at 10:30 am

    Florida’s antiquated alimony laws harken back to a bygone era when women generally lacked college educations and were raised from birth to be full-time homemakers and mothers. This is no longer the case nor has it been for decades. Yet Florida’s current laws are stuck in a time warp. Florida is one of the few remaining states that still awards permanent / lifetime alimony. It’s high time Florida progressed to the 21st century. And by the way, an increasing number of women are now paying former husbands alimony, so it’s not a gender issue.

    In today’s world, everyone has the ability and responsibility to support themselves and contribute to society. If they cannot, there are other mechanisms and safety nets in place. Their support should not forever be the responsibility of their former spouse. (Would you expect or require a former employer to permanently continue paying an employee after they quit or are fired? Of course not!) The reform and overhaul of Florida’s out-dated divorce and alimony laws is long overdue.

    • your worst nightmare

      March 3, 2019 at 10:46 am

      No story about your poor self and what your wife did to you? You’re slacking kallett.

      • Tammy

        March 3, 2019 at 12:01 pm

        Who’s the bully now??

        • your worst nightmare

          March 3, 2019 at 10:09 pm

          How is that bullying? I can pull up thousands of search results where kallett whines about the situation surrounding his divorce. Most men I know would be ashamed of their manhood to spread those details around but not our buddy kallett! Lol

          • Tammy

            March 4, 2019 at 7:13 am

            Why should Lee be ashamed? He’s not the one who was caught having an affair with his own niece. He’s also not the one being backed by a wealthy family and only going after alimony to be spiteful. He’s not the one who alienated his kids from their parent. He’s not the one sitting on several degrees and staying deliberately under employed so he can get free money. He’s not the one never getting on with his life because it’s much more fun to be miserable. Nope…. Lee has NOTHING to be ashamed of. Ms kastriner? Well that may be another story.

          • NO MAN PAYS MY WAY!

            March 4, 2019 at 2:32 pm

            You are one seriously deranged bitter person! I’d venture to guess borderline personality disordered! What a disgrace to women all over the world you are with this childish bullying behavior!

  • Robert Rosenthal

    March 3, 2019 at 10:58 am

    Those looking for reform aren’t looking to eliminate alimony. There is a place for alimony but when a couple breaks up one person should not remain obligated to take care of the other for the rest of their lives, it shouldn’t be a lottery ticket. Everyone has changes in life that affect s their lifestyle like the loss of a job or a death of a partner and then those left behind have to adapt and move on with life. At some point a failed relationship should have a final ending and then those left behind need to adapt and become responsible for themselves. Should there be alimony, YES but not forever. Alimony should be to help the lower income earner have time to get educated and get the future they would like for themselves on track and not used to keep one person indebted to the other forever.

  • Claudia

    March 3, 2019 at 11:02 am

    Everyone deserves a second chance. Over half of marriages end in divorce. Many marry young and people grow apart. A temporary alimony is acceptable. It gives the lower wage earner a chance to start over. But to pay someone for life is unacceptable, neither party can ever move on. It just causes a lifetime of bitterness for both.

  • Natalie Willis

    March 3, 2019 at 11:54 am

    “SHOUTING DOWN” a bill by people who call themselves ” your worst nightmare” is not appropriate for government meetings. I would hope the police would ask these people to leave or arrest them.
    I am a female lifetime payer. I’m a physician who is 52 years old, still working 27 hour shifts despite the fact that I have a pacemaker and a few other serious medical conditions which make working 70 or 80 hour weeks ( sometimes more) very exhausting. My able bodied ex husband sits home all day and watches tv ( and plays tennis). Why is this allowed? Because Florida’s antiquated laws says that a spouse, even an educated and able bodied spouse with no minor children, can sit home and collect private welfare because they want to. I pay lifetime alimony. Lifetime means forever, until death. And I pay a large amount that is clearly unsustainable.
    I am asking, no begging, the legislature to help me and countless others who are suffering.
    We are not looking to eliminate alimony. Instead we are looking to put fair limits on payments so that the ex spouse can become independent members of society.
    If we ( as a group of reformers) only had millions of dollars, a referendum could have been put on the ballot so the people could decide. The people eliminated dog racing . I’m 100% certain that the people would also eliminate what amounts to as human slavery. But we don’t have the funds to bring the referendum.
    Instead we are relying on the legislature to do the right thing. Free me . Free us.

    • your worst nightmare

      March 3, 2019 at 10:23 pm

      You have obviously forgotten what happened in the governor’s office or you weren’t there. It was not the alimony receivers who were shouting down, it was your side Natalie. Threatening suicide, knocking babies heads into chandeliers, shoving disabled women and more.

  • Free The Slaves

    March 3, 2019 at 12:01 pm

    This is indeed the year to rumble and expose the underhanded politics and character smearing that is going on. Everyone should become familiar with The Divorce From Hell, the Battle for Alimony and Emptied Pockets article published in the Tampa Bay Times on April 3, 2013.

    If you read the article, you would know Terry Power offered his ex a million dollars, right? You would also be aware that he was awarded sole custody and received child support since his ex is an abusive drunk, right? It’s all public records.

    The ex-wife got very ticked off because Terry stated during his run for the Florida House seat against Jamie Grant in 2018 that he was going to donate his Representative salary to charities. Now she wants four times the amount Terry has paid faithfully since their divorce nearly a decade ago!

    Florida House Representative Jamie Grant’s neighbor and Auburn College buddy is the ex wife’s new attorney. It’s so easy to connect the dots. There’s something very fishy going on and it all stinks.
    This is a political witch hunt. Terry Power is smart not to play the game. The truth behind all the crafty deals and the witch hunt need to be exposed. The public deserves to know what the truth really is.

    • Your worst nightmare

      March 4, 2019 at 6:05 pm

      So how will you get there Terry? Fly in? Let’s hope that writ has been dismissed. Because ya won’t be flying out 😉

  • A woman for Alimony Reform

    March 3, 2019 at 12:05 pm

    This will end PERMANENT/LIFETIME alimony, not all alimony!! No adult should have to pay for another adult for the rest of their life. Especially when you’re only legally responsible to your children for 18 years. I can’t believe this is something that has to be fought for!!

  • Dan Walsh

    March 3, 2019 at 12:19 pm

    One must ask …why is there permanent alimony in the first place? At this point in time it is pretty obvious. Simply put…it’s a vehicle for the state of Florida to generate revenue and replenish the coffers of the Judicial System through Federal Funding. At the same time those people who are forced to pay permanent alimony are driven to financial and most importantly emotional instability. It’s sort of like robbing Peter to pay Paul. But then again our entire Bureaucratic System is based on such a scheme. Eventually this scheme of legal extortion shall be met with some dire consequences. Every human being has limitations and those people running this scheme had better acknowledge when one’s limits have been violated. What this country is witnessing today in terms of violating one’s limits is just the tip of the iceberg. Once the economy enters the next recession and it will, the money flow shall dry up for the select few benefiting from this scheme. We believe this is when the real social chaos begins. After all, it’s always about the money. This is not about a right or left belief system, it is more about common sense in determining that permanent alimony has done nothing more than create a “glorified welfare system” for those at the top and for those receiving permanent alimony. For the record, I do not receive alimony nor do I pay alimony.

  • Jim Haskin

    March 3, 2019 at 12:48 pm

    Many places, like Texas, have alimony laws that provide for enablement and transition to independence for both parties. What reform seeks to fix is a complete imbalance where often one party gets to retire at a young age, with no requirement to make any effort to ever support themselves while the other party gets a life sentence with the sword of Alimony hanging over their head. That is simply not fair. Divorce should enable a complete transition to independence for both parties. Alimony should be a tool to assist with that, and should not be a lifestyle or a way of punishing an ex spouse. There should be a requirement on the receiving spouse to step up and work towards independence – same as they would had to if their former spouse had become unemployed or disabled. The whole “I stayed home and raised the children” is somehow used as an excuse for being unwilling to make an effort NOW. Change is needed – Florida is behind the times. See Texas as an excellent model of enablement vs handout mentality.

  • Bill Perkins

    March 3, 2019 at 12:53 pm

    The opponents tired rebuttal against alimony reform, is getting old and outdated ‘receiving ex should be rewarded for staying at home and raising the kids’. Most households have two incomes. Women are starting to catch up to men as head of household, women earn more college degrees than men and lastly, more women are also starting to pay permanent alimony. This is a gender neutral issue so please don’t start making like women are still in the 1950’s barefoot and pregnant and completely dependent on men. It’s a false narrative.
    Here is what permanent alimony really is. It’s the legal adoption of a perfectly capable adult for life. If you do not take care of this adult for life you go to jail. This adult has a legal vehicle to your wages and assets that supersedes blood relatives such as your children, your parents, your brothers and sisters and even your current spouse if you ever decide to remarry.
    Your ex can live with someone and it is virtually impossible to still end permanent alimony. I would love to have the Family BAR give stats of how many times permanent alimony has been terminated because the receiving ex was living with someone. Virtually zero.
    The BAR will fight this tooth and nail not because they believe in the laws being fair, but because it is their gravy train. It is a fact that the most litigated part of divorces is not child support but alimony. Child support has a cost structure to it and it has an ending. Permanent alimony has no ending. This means a permanent revenue stream for attorneys until one of the ex’s dies. The reason it continues to be litigated is because people lose their jobs, people retire and as such, you have to go to court and beg for the reduction of alimony. Attorneys love this aspect of permanent alimony. They know they will see you again and again for the rest of your life. Think about that.
    This law does not end alimony.
    Recipients of alimony that use the excuse that they have been out of the workplace is grossly exaggerated and misleading. Working men and women have always had to retool themselves during economic downturns. They do this while raising a family, getting no other financial support yet they always somehow find a way. They do this while in their 40’s, 50’s and even 60’s. Why can’t alimony recipients? Why can’t alimony recipients while they get alimony and awarded half of all marital assets. If anyone can do it it would be the latter with financial backing that an ordinary person would not have when they have lost their job.
    Don’t let the scare tactics of the Family BAR cloud the issue.
    Ending permanent alimony is the right thing to do. No one should be a financial slave to someone else for life.
    Support this bill, if not for you, do it for your sons and daughters, grandsons and granddaughters who may end up paying permanent alimony because they married the wrong person.
    Bill Perkins

    • Jim Haskin

      March 3, 2019 at 3:36 pm

      Exactly right

  • Shelley McKaughan

    March 3, 2019 at 12:57 pm

    Permanent alimony can be a means of doing equity if one party maintained ownership of a business. Or if there was a fraudulent transfer of assets permanent alimony can be used as a means of doing equity… it’s in the law, feel free to search it. Alimony can be modified if income changes. Also In the law. So if I were a doctor with health issues, I’d reduce my hours, and seek modification. The law allows that.

    Maybe not all, but a number of the staunch alimony reformers are just continuing the rehashing of their divorce and trying to maintain control.. and accepting a settlement from a personality like that would be incredibly unwise secondary to the way enforcement of a civil debt. Vs enforcement of alimony works…..alimony is enforceable via contempt and incarceration, civil debt is not.

    Now if two people invested through their various contributions in growing a business for over 10 years, that provides 250,000.00 in income per year, why should one person collect the rest of their life on that investment while the other should be overjoyed with collecting 2-5 years or taking 26% or less of the income? That sounds like slave labor to me.

    I don’t get alimony but I understand the law somewhat, and I understand the thinking of controlling types.. it’s like if my spouse paid the mortgage 10 years and I bought groceries for 10 years, each costing about 800.00 monthly, yet my spouse thinks the house is his, because we ate all the groceries and I cannot take them with me… gee that’s clever why didn’t I think of that (maybe because I thought I was in a partnership, but he was actually in an master and servant relationship from the start, que sara sara, watch your backs from day 1 I guess).

    I do hope all concerned parties take the time to educate themselves on the issue before spreading untruths.

    FYI very few people are awarded permanent alimony, I think in marriages of 17 years or more perhaps, not 100% certain on that.

    • Bill Perkins

      March 3, 2019 at 1:05 pm

      Permanent alimony has been awarded for as little as ten years and no, the receiving ex was not incapacitated.
      The statement that few people are awarded permanent alimony seems to justify that it is ok. Permanent financial slavery is not ok, one is too many.

      • Shelley McKaughan

        March 3, 2019 at 4:25 pm

        One person receiving permanent alimony is to many? Hmmm interestingly biased statement…. certainly takes into account all possible situations…NOT…. hence the problem with your push for reform…

        BTW how many divorces end in an award of permanent alimony?

    • Nomoreexcuses

      March 3, 2019 at 5:39 pm

      Permanent alimony is never a means for equitable division of assets. It has no set value and therefore cannot be used for that. Permanent alimony is for one purpose and one purpose only…. To support a person deemed unable to support themselves.

      In 2019 there are far too many opportunities and other social safety nets in place to place this unfair and undo burden on one person.
      A person aged 23 who gets married, decides to stay home with kiddos and also chooses to never go to work even after the kids are grown can expect the following under reform: 20 year marriage -she would be 43. She would get 10 years alimony and is young enough to get herself prepared to move on in life. 30 year marriage- she would be 53. She would get 15 years of alimony. She is still young enough to reinvent herself and she would get alimony until she able to collect social security. If she chooses not to reinvent herself she will get half what her ex spouse would get. If she does strive to move on she still has plenty of time to establish her own social security amount. She also still has time to get into a job with benefits. She can contribute to 401k and take pride in looking after herself. She can PREPARE for her own destiny. Don’t forget she got equitable distribution at the time of the divorce (anyone who tells you they didn’t is not telling the whole truth). She may even have an opportunity to settle and get a lump sum in lieu of alimony that she could then invest. There are so many options.

      Sitting home, staying stagnant in her life to get free money should never be an option.

      Don’t forget, the argument has long been that the wife stayed home and gave up a career. If she had the gumption to get a career before marriage to give up then she sure would have the gumption to reinvent herself after a divorce. (If she wanted to)

      • Ann from St Aug

        March 4, 2019 at 5:15 pm

        ***If she had the gumption to get a career before marriage to give up then she sure would have the gumption to reinvent herself after a divorce. (If she wanted to)*** In my situation I was 30 years old, physically fit and 10 years into a career when I married a man that had a disabled daughter that required care. It was a mutual decision by us that I would forgo my career to stay at home. We subsequently had children together as well. I not only was the primary caregiver for our children and the homemaker I also worked with my husband in his business for zero compensation. I never received a salary and never contributed to social security. My husband’s business flourished. When we divorced the workforce was completely different. There were no cell phones or computers when my husband and I decided I’d be staying at home. My chosen career was also physically demanding and I was now well past middle age. So, not quite so easy to reinvent myself in my 50’s. You are also choosing to ignore that I’d now be competing for jobs against young people that had no 25 year gap in their employment. A skills assessment ordered during the divorce proceedings determined the best I could hope for was a minimum wage job.

        • TJB

          March 5, 2019 at 11:26 am

          Ann from St Aug- reinventing means finding something that suits you now. If your chosen career was physically demanding, it’s reasonable to assume it may not have taken you into retirement even if you had kept working.

          As far as competing with younger folks in the job market- what do you suppose people who get laid off or their job is eliminated do? What about men who lose their job in their 50’s or 60’s? How are THEY supposed to compete? The court doesn’t care about them. THEY are told to figure it out or go to jail.

          Besides in your scenerio you would still get alimony until you reach retirement age at which time you can collect off your ex’s social security. Will you need to adjust your lifestyle? Yeah. But why wouldn’t you be expected to do that in retirement? Most of us will have to figure that out.

          • Ann from St Aug

            March 5, 2019 at 1:38 pm

            Respectfully, had I continued in my career instead of working as an unpaid co-worker to my husband I expect I would have continued to climb the ladder and matriculated out of the physical elements of my job. A man laid off or losing his job at age 58 still has a proven track record of uninterrupted employment to pad his resume. I had a 25 year gap. I don’t receive enough alimony to manage saving any and I’m quite certain a retirement based only an income of social security would be impossible. I do work and will probably always do so. I believe your individual case has so tainted and embittered you that you’re completely unable to view this issue outside the tiny prism that is your experience. I’d encourage you to try to see that every case is different and that’s the reason judges should have leeway to make their determinations.

          • TJB

            March 5, 2019 at 3:37 pm

            Ann from Aug,
            I would respectfully ask that you see it from both sides as well. You know there are alot of recipients who don’t even come close to matching your story. You know there are people collecting lifetime alimony who never even had any children. You know that lifetime alimony awards are happening when the receiver is in their early 40’s. A lifetime award in your 40’s? If you live to be 85 you will have collected for more than half your natural life. That is just not realistic nor sustainable.
            Even a person in their 40’s who was out of the market for 20+ years can most certainly jump back in. That 20 year gap is easily explained (or maybe employers would see through the sham of the SAHM) Sorry, but as a mother and a divorced woman, simply refusing to go back to work should not entitle you anything. Once kids are in school there is SOMETHING you can do to keep yourself in the job market. And if you chose to stay out of work AFTER the kids were grown? Well, that’s a risk you took.

            It sounds like in your case, you did work with and for your ex. That should have been taken up in the divorce and the equitable split. If it was and the outcome was unfavorable then alimony is appropriate to be awarded. But still not for life.

            I believe in your case, if you had been granted alimony for half the length of your marriage, you may have made different choices since your divorce. You would have had an incentive to do something that would support yourself once the alimony was done. And best of all you wouldn’t have to think about your ex all the time. That alone should be incentive.

            I am sorry for your plight, but your plight is unique. Which is why the standard should be half the marriage with the ability for the judge to make different determinations in cases like your. Perm Alimony should NOT be the catch-all.

            And BTW…yes I am a bit bitter. My husband’s ex made far more money than he did last year. She had money coming in from all angles. She is also living with a guy. Her bank records and her own admission about the relationship are FACTS. Yet modification could cost $20K+ and it is a mythical carrot. It is VERY difficult to get a judge to unring the alimony bell. And she worked the entire time they were married. It was only in the last 5 years of the marriage that he actually made more than she. It was a crap judgement. Not an MSA. And now 10+ years later, he is looking toward retirement and it’s not gonna happen. All he ever did was stay in a bad marriage too long. He committed no crime. He was loyal and faithful. She was not. Yet he pays. Yeah, I’m bitter.

    • Ali Whiting

      March 4, 2019 at 8:28 am

      I was laid off and the custodial parent of 2. I filed for modification as I had worked and ascended the corporate ladder for over 20 years. However, I didn’t have a college degree and there was very little chance I could obtain a position at the same salary elsewhere. My ex husband did not come to court, his attorney acknowledged the reality of my situation in the job market and guess what? The judge ruled against me anyway. I could barely keep a roof over our head, 50% of my new, much lower income of $52k was taken for alimony. So much for best interests of the children. You don’t appear to have much experience with alimony or the capricious rulings of judges in family court. Alimony is awarded in childless marriages, it is awarded despite both parties working throughout the entirety of the marriage, it is awarded regardless of abuse issues. And it is awarded in middle class homes, not just the wealthy. Frankly, until you have experienced it, you will never understand.

      • Your worst nightmare

        March 13, 2019 at 9:23 am

        I wonder why this is a reason to have alimony modified, yet not a good enough reason for alimony to be awarded?

    • Waiting and watching

      March 4, 2019 at 6:16 pm

      You are absolutely correct and that is one of the biggest travesties of this whole retroactive business… you’re going to undo agreements that traded 1 for the other for particular reasons, and it now becomes the recipient spouse’s obligation to overcome this craziness… not only attempting to do that with a settled CONTRACT from who knows how many years ago, but whilst the reimbursement for the attys fees/costs are capped. Balancing act? My ass! This is a one-sided free for all to get most payors out of their contracted for obligations and make it as difficult as possible for the recipient to fight it. The law was reformed with several changes between in 2008 and 2010 and the impact of those changes are evident in the cases that have been coming down and the application in the years since. Permanent alimony, except in long term marriages (and still not that easy depending on age and capabilities of spouse) is very difficult to get and modification is always available should the payors have appropriate circumstances. The idea that lawyers want to keep the system the same to make more $$ is hilarious… goes to show that those who are talking know not about what they speak. The Family Bar is interested in what’s best for all of the State’s residents, not just monied spouses. But should this legislation pass, you can bet the Bar will be set for years and the Court’s backlogged with all the litigation that will be pending.

  • John comunale

    March 3, 2019 at 1:40 pm

    Your worst nightmare, please let’s take the emotions out of this and simply look at the facts of reform. The bill will help place at least some guidelines to the divorce process. In my profession (pharmacy) there are more female graduates than males, this is not the 60s females are an important part of our workforce. Staying home to raise a young child or children until they get into grammar school should not entitle a male or female to not seek self sufficient for the rest of their lives should it? You miss the point we are not trying to stop alimony but move it into the modern times where it is fair for all. So to make it a male vs female issue and then post insults really serves no purpose. It is my hope that if you were a recipient of alimony funds you used those to obtain better education if needed or to pursue a career that made you self sufficient.
    As far as the new bill is concerned Senator Harrell will get my full support, as well as many of my close female and male friends who know what I have been through. There is no poor me in this post, but I do stand for fairness and the ability for all to move on with thier lives after a divorce. If you need to know, post divorce my ex-wife obtained her batchelor in nursing and then her masters in nursing as well as her MBA degrees and still collects 2500 a month lifetime alimony. Thank you John

  • Women for Alimony Reform

    March 3, 2019 at 2:35 pm

    Working woman, tax payers and voters stand 100% with you. End Lifetime Alimony. Everyone deserves a life free from an ex spouse.

    • KBK

      March 4, 2019 at 2:36 pm

      Here here!! YES!

  • Notayoungersecondspouse

    March 3, 2019 at 2:49 pm

    Definitely time for change and fairness and the current laws are neither. The laws need to change to be reflective of 2019. We are living in a time where more women are attending law, medical and dental school as well as a record number of women in Congress. This week, a federal judge ruled the current selective service system is unconstitutional. For the record, I don’t support the idea of a man or woman paying alimony. There is no reason not to reform FL’s archaic laws.
    Yes, I married a man who is a permanent payer and we’ve been married longer than his first marriage. I can’t think of one reason why she couldn’t seek employment at the time of the divorce as she is educated and had an employment history.

  • Hillary Frank Aubin

    March 3, 2019 at 4:03 pm

    Permanent alimony should be called early retirement. Essentially, my husband’s ex wife retired at 41.She took up golf, has steady boyfriends she will not marry or they won’t marry her because it’s easier to have us support them and she gets to spend endless time with the grandchildren. After 22 years of paying on a 23 year marriage my husband has to stress about how does he retire and still pay the $63k. It is an injustice in our system that needs to be fixed. I strongly support alimony and rehab alimony but permanent alimony is abusive and damages the family that can’t move past the divorce because the fight and resentment over money continues until one of them dies.

  • John Fromularo

    March 3, 2019 at 10:54 pm

    I am committed to seeing alimony reform in Florida. Unfortunately I am a 67 year old man who was married for 19 years to a woman who divorced me and played the system. Although she is a college graduate, has a military pension and is very employable, I have given her $500,000 these past ten years. Why, because we happen to be in Florida during the time of our divorce. I didn’t get married here, the state didn’t try to help me when she ran up huge credit card bills but now they are every much in my life. I would like to retire but can’t afford my living costs and paying my ex-wife $2000 month for life. I even have to pay her from the grave if I should die by maintaining life insurance for her. This law is poorly written, the judges have very vague guidelines and if you get a different judge,, even in the same county, you may have a very different outcome in your divorce ruling. That is not justice. On top of that you get to pay tens of thousands of dollars to a lawyer for the privilege of getting fleeced by the state. I am a retired Marine officer, tax payer and good citizen yet my rights as an American have been stripped from me. This is just not right and not the system of American rights that our forefathers fought for and I fought for.
    It must end so we can have some justice in our lives.

  • Ann from St Aug

    March 3, 2019 at 11:14 pm

    I am divorced with a permanent alimony judgement. I did not want to divorce my husband. We’d been married 24 years when I discovered he was a serial cheater and had been raiding our savings to finance his ongoing affairs. I was a stay at-home-mother of our children and also worked with my husband in his business (This was well documented.) for the duration of our marriage with no compensation. I requested a reasonable settlement with zero alimony during both attempts at mediation. He refused. He demanded a trial because he believed that since I chose to file for dissolution I’d abdicated my right to any settlement and unfortunately his attorney was unable to convince him of the law. We had a trial, a very expensive trial, with forensic accounts on both sides and days of depositions. My legal fees were in excess of $50,000. After the final judgement my ex-husband filed two appeals and the trial court findings were upheld on both appeals. This appellate process cost me additional legal fees. So my divorce was adjudicated by not only the district court judge but also the bench of appellate judges. I have zero sympathy for my ex-husbands plight. He brought this upon himself when he refused to act like a decent man during his marriage and when he behaved even more poorly during his divorce. Had he mediated with good conscience and intentions he wouldn’t have ever paid a dime of alimony. How anyone thinks it would be fair to me to overturn my alimony judgment is beyond my understanding.

    • No more excuses

      March 11, 2019 at 1:54 pm

      If you worked for/with your ex husband in a legit business why are not able to put that on your resume? You were not out of the workforce. If that business is good enough to garner you alimony then it should be good enough to be in a resume.

      • Your worst nightmare

        March 13, 2019 at 9:20 am

        Simply because some jobs that are done in family businesses do not carry outside. I have a friend who is a bookkeeper/secretary/dispatcher. She has no formal education. When she left the company where she had worked for many years, she was unable to find a similar job, even though many were available, because she had no degree. She is back at that same company now. And she doesn’t even get alimony. People on this commenting section try to make readers believe it is so extremely difficult to undo alimony, try to paint the alimony receivers as lazy and leeches, when the truth is actually the opposite.

        And no I do not receive alimonymyself. I am actually more interested in the 50/50 shared portion of the law and what that will mean for families like mine. Again, just like with the alimony portion, families of all types are being shoved in that round hole, when they might be square shaped, and they are being forgotten. Drug or alcohol abuse, child abuse, even are all things that are routinely ignored by family court judges all over the world. 50/50 shared parenting has been tried in other countries and it has failed due to these types of cases. And if families are being failed due to strict rules over child custody, what makes one think they will not be failed with strict rules about alimony.

  • Lesli Montgomery

    March 4, 2019 at 6:48 am

    So a 58 year old woman who was a stay at home mother and supportive wife who is abandoned by her husband of more than 30 years for a 30 year old flight attendant deserves very little? She put him through Med school and raised their 4 children! This man all retirement accounts and savings by splurging in Vegas and going on lavish trips. Now he is intentionally taking bi monthly sabbaticals so his salary is knocked in half just so he won’t have to pay alimony. Wow! So while he lives like a king the ex wife will need to get back to the workplace at minimum wage? At 58? This happens all the time. The only women complaining about alimony are the ones who are married to men who the courts felt a duty to impose alimony on. The laws are fine and a judge needs to make a decision for the sake of justice.

    • Tammy

      March 4, 2019 at 11:24 am

      Leslie, you would get 15+ years of alimony. You also qualify for social security at 62. Your circumstance is unfortunate and what he did (according to you) is wrong. People get screwed over all the time.. Permanent alimony is not the answer. The laws impose alimony based solely on the numbers. I know someone who’s ex had a lesbian affair with her own cousin. Was he supposed to stay in that marriage? And now he is paying Permanent alimony to that. In my eyes she is to him what your ex is to you. How would you feel if you had to pay your abuser/cheater ex simply because you made more money? And how would you feel about paying him if he had the ability to support himself but stays under employed out of spite? And yes THAT scenerio also happens all the time. Divorce means the END of the marriage. Both parties deserve and need to move on. Even the wretched abuser.

  • Robert Sell

    March 4, 2019 at 12:35 pm

    This really isn’t difficult if you remove the emotion, gender bias, and judicial corruption. Alimony is a fabricated debt based on nebulous justifications. A debt created between two adults that requires the payor to forever have their private lives managed by the state in a way that makes them nothing more than a human mule to carry another person through life. If that isn’t unconstitutional and an affront to liberty, what is? When a person has the years of their life taken from them by force and threat of punishment where no crime has been committed, is that the moral obligation of government? Take away permanent alimony and you will see people behave very differently in their marriages. Under current laws with the state acting a “enforcer”, there is no equity in marriage or divorce. Fix these laws and stop persecuting people for failed marriages.

  • Hard working woman

    March 4, 2019 at 1:11 pm

    I can’t wait for this bill to pass. First of all, this is not about woman’s rights, it is all about fairness. I am also a woman and I happened to marry someone who has a lifetime sentence. I made the decision to study and work hard while being a good spouse and a mother. It wasn’t easy having to work 60+ hours a week to help my family and now that I remarried, and he can’t continue to support the ex-wife at the amount that he was ordered by the court, this woman is coming after me.
    My husband happened to be married to a woman, who had multiple affairs (brought up in court) and a relationship for the last 7 years with a man who now testified all that is true (but the Judge???).
    She got 50% of the assets including his retirement, while he had to pay child support, all legal fees and took more than $200K in her debt (yes, he took all the debt). He should have never agreed to that, but since she wasn’t working at the time, he couldn’t continue to run up legal fees, and her lawyer threatened to get his medical practice audited which would cost close to $50K. His lawyer convince him to agree if he couldn’t continue paying, telling him that he can go up for modification later….finally he agreed because she said it was going to be to help the children who were going to need help as they went into University and child support ended (Though my husband also paid for all 4 Universities). … We haven’t seen any financial records showing they have any help, though she spends it all….
    MODIFICATION??? This is the blue unicorn from the Divorce Law.
    So, he spent $70K in trying to go up for a modification. For anyone who knows about Family Practice, they would agree that Doctors who operate independently can’t make what they did a few years ago when it was mostly Fee for Service…however, who cares? he still has to pay the full amount. Today 65% of what he brings home, goes to pay this woman and he is still paying for debt from modification. He needs more than one of his two monthly paychecks to fulfill his obligation.
    So, back to this woman….she moved in with another man right after the divorce, cheated to him (just like she did to my husband), and now is with the second living partner (they live on the property acquired with the money after selling the house and the one she stole from him all those 7 years waiting to have time for lifetime alimony). She works (though, she stopped working before she filed for divorce and as soon as she was taken back to court for alimony), and between her and her partner (who she works for), they make much more than my husband.
    Considering the circumstances, he has tried to make an agreement, but she has flat out said it that IF HE CAN’T PAY, I do have a good job in the Corporate world, so I WILL HAVE PAY HER. ….this means paying both of them!!!
    Back to the time, when my husband took her to court for a Modification, her lawyer made the case, that her first partner didn’t contribute, but that he was supported by the MONEY received by my husband, and in regards to the second one she said they were taking it slowly (everything holds in court).
    Not sure if you all get this picture:
    1. My husband has to support her for life because they were once married (though she was unfaithful)
    2. My husband supports her and her current and prior Fiancees/Boyfriends (she used both “names” during the court hearings) and this is OK, because she is not getting financial support (meaning they use cash and don’t comingle their financials).
    3. If my husband can’t continue to pay that amount, me as a second wife, should support the ex-wife with whoever she decides to live with.
    So, if exposing all the truth (which we have all the documentation in an open book to show it to anyone who wants to see it), doesn’t help….we can ONLY HOPE AND BEG the LEGISLATURE to give us some relief.
    My husband since he divorced, was not able to buy a house or nothing, and he has given everything he had once for this 4 young men (who were made belief that he should be rich and they stopped talking to him the day he asked for a modification). He works 60 hours a week to keep his practice so that he can pay this woman. When I met him, 3 years after his divorce, he was depressed, he drove a 12 year old car, and rented an apartment and lived to pay and pay and pay…..how can this be fair??? But I was lucky to meet the most caring and loving person, and now are happily married. However, having to carry this financial burden from another woman, makes me as a woman as much a VICTIM as she thinks she is. ..this is not about fair laws for woman or any human being. Don’t let abusive people get away with this….
    I BEG THE LEGISLATURE FOR FAIR LAWS!!!!!

  • KBK

    March 4, 2019 at 2:42 pm

    Florida’s lifetime alimony is an antiquated notion that women need to be kept and are unskilled for the workforce. In this day and age of women’s rights and the #metoo movement, lifetime alimony must be reformed. In fact, the end of a marriage should be approached like the end of a job. You were together for “X” amount of years so here is your “severance package”. No company is going to pay you for a lifetime after working for them, why should an ex spouse? There must be closure for the paying ex spouse, else how can he ever retire or move on? Also the fact that someone could potentially pull monthly alimony AND the ex-spouse’s Social Security benefit is a huge loophole. REFORM NOW!!

  • Watchman

    March 4, 2019 at 4:22 pm

    Reading these comments and aside from the alimony recipients stories most of them are the bitter and angry commentaries of the 2nd and 3rd spouses that were unfortunate to marry into a well established financial contract that did not involve them. People, you took this on when you married them. If you weren’t a party to the divorce and came onto the scene after the dust settled, well, that’s on you. Sorry but you should have known better. Both marriage and divorce carry legal and contractual obligations, both binding. These divorce cases are settled law. Why do these legislators continually waste taxpayer money on matters that have been resolved, some for years and years? Why not work on unresolved issues? This is another waste of our governments time and money.

    • TJB

      March 4, 2019 at 6:04 pm

      Dear watchman,
      you are full of crap. So you think all divorced people should be thrown away?? Especially alimony payers? Isn’t it amazing that the payers, in spite of their cross to bear, can still find a new satisfying, loving relationship? Yet the recipients will go to extremes to hide any new relationship. They are the ones who like money more than any new partner they are with.

      BTW…..These “settled cases” are settled based on bad law. That’s what we are going to change.

      Alimony payers are not throw away material.

      • Watchman

        March 4, 2019 at 11:45 pm

        TJB ~ I never said alimony payers were rubbish or should be thrown away. You are projecting. From my perspective the last thing I’d want to do after a nasty divorce is remarry but if one should choose to enter a partnership with an established alimony payer they are certainly aware of the circumstances so complaining about it after the fact holds no water with me. Alimony recipients are also not prohibited from forging new relationships and as long as the new relationship is not supportive it has no effect on their qualification for alimony. As I clearly stated, an alimony obligation is a contract between the former plaintive and the defendant not the newbie on the scene.

        • TJB

          March 5, 2019 at 6:43 am

          Watchman,
          “Alimony recipients are not forbidden from forging new relationships as long as they are not supportive”. Umm that is not a relationship, that is dogging the system to keep free money. Why is it that ALL lifetime recipients miraculously have a non supportive relationship?? Because every one of them is dogging the system. Even the ones who meet a new person who is wealthier than their ex continue to dog the system.
          How do you explain that??

          • Watchman

            March 5, 2019 at 11:23 am

            TJB ~ People that have been dragged through the legal system and spent thousands upon thousands of dollars fighting with their spouses have very little faith or interest in marrying again. You’re making it seem like an alimony recipient should be locked in a gallows somewhere and never have any relationship again. Not all relationships are supportive. Dating does not equal support. Love is great. Marriage is not so great. 40% of 1st marriages fail and 60% of 2nd marriages fail. Eventually divorced people realize that the common denominator in their failed marriages is looking at them in the mirror. Many decide not to repeat prior mistakes.

          • TJB

            March 5, 2019 at 11:42 am

            Watchman,

            I whole heartedly support everyone finding a special someone they can share their lives with. I think everyone deserves to be loved. What I didn’t support is double dipping. Why should you have the financial benefit of two relationships? Particularly when one doesn’t even exist anymore?

            I know remarriage is a crap shoot but there sure are allot of recipients who have a special “friend” that they don’t have a “supportive relationship” with. It’s so very convenient to pay cash and act like it’s all nothing just to keep the gravy train going. And it is a gravy train.

            The new law will be a hand up with a specific end in sight. Not a lifetime hand out. Even welfare demands you get a job once your kids are in school.

            The new laws will also make it so there is certainty and a lot less litigation. Wouldn’t it be nice to not have to worry about getting brought back to court every few years? Wouldn’t it be nice to not have to hide in your life?

    • TJ

      March 4, 2019 at 11:58 pm

      Agree with TJB. There is no marriage contract that demands you waive your right to the 13th amendment. Alimony other than BRIEF temporary support is a slap in the face to working women and working mothers. But Watchman you are right that divorce in Florida carries immoral and unconstitutional obligations. Florida is one of only a few states left with this. It is unnerving to see my unemployed “friends” sit around and talk about how they are entitled to life of leisure while their spouse works all day….infuriating when I am one of those working all day and night shifts and raising kids. You want bitterness?1?! You work your butt off all day knowing that a huge percentage of EVERYTHING you earn goes to your sit at home ex!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Leisa Athey

    March 5, 2019 at 10:53 am

    Florida Taxpayers should be outraged! This Bill is nothing more than transferring the liability from the one who received the benefit of the stay at home parent to the taxpayers. Florida taxpayers are already overburdened.

    • TJB

      March 5, 2019 at 11:15 am

      Lisa Athay- why do you assume that being divorced somehow makes a person unable to support themselves?

      You should be outraged that there are still spoiled women (and some men) who think they are above working and above having to be responsible for themselves. Many of these recipients have degrees and most are in their early 40’s when they get divorced. How is it reasonable to never expect them to take charge of their own life??

      Unless, of course, you are a recipient.

      SMDH

    • Fred Tucker

      March 5, 2019 at 11:59 am

      Wow – the assumption here is the alimony recipient has no choice but to go on welfare… How about they go to work? Earn a living? Support themselves? Why is it assumed that the payor can never retire, lose a job, want to change careers, or do anything that interrupts the flow of money, but the recipient is HELPLESS to do anything EVER to support themselves, and by benefit of being a SAHM is entitled to immediately retire at an often young age to a life of Alimony that just shows up in the mail! Per your post the ONLY alternative is welfare. SMH. Not reality in 2019.

  • Long overdue....

    March 5, 2019 at 8:01 pm

    Permanent Alimony is a form of indentured servitude that destroys everyone it touches, payor, payee, and all family members. No one can ever heal. No hurts can be mended. Most states see it as the destructive force that it is and have ended it. It’s Florida’s turn to move forward.

  • Nostra

    March 8, 2019 at 4:00 pm

    Under current law, there is a disincentive to save for retirement on the behalf of both parties. The recipient has the incentive to spend investment and retirement assets especially if receiving significant “permanent” alimony. The payer has the incentive to spend investment and retirement assets, otherwise the payer will continue to have the ability to pay alimony upon retirement.
    There is no such thing as “permanent” alimony for the vast majority as the payer may die, become disabled, lose their job or retire with much less income and less or no ability to pay alimony. The comment above about “SETTLED CONTRACT” does not apply to those who were involuntarily ORDERED to pay permanent alimony via a Final Judgment. The retroactive nature of this bill DOES NOT apply to those who voluntarily entered a nonmodifiable agreement.

  • Nevada Bedwell

    March 11, 2019 at 12:56 pm

    14 year marriage. X wife is a RN with a BSN. She works Monday-Thur only. She said in court she needed her 3 day weekends to have more time share with kids. Of course we have 50-50 time share so how the judge thinks that is ok is beyond me. She makes on her own with no support from me 68k year. I have to pay her 1500 a month for life time alimony. She also gets 1000 month for life time from my military pension. Add that up – really for life for being
    Married 14 years. Add in the child support and she makes over 130k year for working part time. The judge wanted to equal incomes for life and that is what she did. My x wife will never do anything to support herself and give up that kind of money. I am giving it 2 more years for alimony reform than I am leaving the state just like many others have done and I’m NOT paying her for life regardless of what the crazy laws are in Florida. Plan B if we don’t get this fixed.

  • B

    March 15, 2019 at 8:13 pm

    When is the vote going to happen ?

Comments are closed.


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