Alimony reformers build team ahead of 2020 Legislative Session

alimony fight
Florida Family Fairness has added The Southern Group’s Nelson Diaz to its list of advocates in Tallahassee.

Florida Family Fairness, the new lead for alimony reform in the Sunshine State, has added The Southern Group’s Nelson Diaz to its list of advocates in Tallahassee.

The addition means they’ll be repped by two of the top lobbying firms in the state — the new org, which has distanced itself from the problematic Florida Family Law Reform PAC, signed a lobbying deal with Ballard Partners in August.

In addition to bringing on The Southern Group, the firm previously known as Southern Strategy Group, Florida Family Fairness has retained the PR pros at McNicholas & Associates to help boost their messaging efforts in the Legislature and the public at-large.

The hires bode well for the 2020 edition in the long-running battle to reform the state’s alimony laws.

Past efforts to push alimony reform have been stymied by groups such as the Florida Family Law Reform PAC, which made a string of tasteless social media posts during the 2019 Legislative Session, including comparing alimony payments to chattel slavery, casting Rep. Bob Rommel as a “one-man dictatorship” and referring to women as “leeches.”

Florida Family Fairness, however, is looking to leave the nastiness of controversial alimony reform advocates such as Debbie Leff-Kelapire and Elvina Bergmann Kallett behind and instead make a good-faith push for reform.

The alimony reform movement has failed to get a law on the books for nearly a decade, but with the addition of veterans such as Diaz, things could tilt in their favor this go around.

Diaz is intimately familiar with the ins and outs of the issue, possibly more so than any other Florida lobbyist given his years of experience working the issue. He has also teamed up with former lawmaker-turned-lobbyist Chris Dorworth for an added edge.

“This law is grossly outdated and it’s time for compromise,” said Diaz, a partner at Southern Group.

“Families are being torn apart and mothers and fathers are being pitted against each other… we need laws that help families, not hurt them.”

Whether you agree with them or not, alimony affects tens of thousands of Floridians.

It’s too soon to say how the 2020 push will go, but reform advocates’ may have their best shot yet at getting it across the finish line.

Keep your eye on this one, it could be the sleeper issue of the 2020 Legislative Session.

Peter Schorsch

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises Media and is the publisher of, INFLUENCE Magazine, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. Previous to his publishing efforts, Peter was a political consultant to dozens of congressional and state campaigns, as well as several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella. Follow Peter on Twitter @PeterSchorschFL.

One comment

  • Cynthia Swanson

    October 14, 2019 at 9:29 am

    Your statement that the alimony reform group “has failed to get a law on the books for nearly a decade” isn’t quite true. In fact, some significant alimony reform has been accomplished over the last several years. The circumstances in which an award of permanent alimony can be made (the greatest scourge according to past alimony reform advocates) has been significantly limited; the statute now contains a clearer and more objective definition and delineation of the circumstances in which short term and moderate term alimony should be awarded. The statute contains a good balance between providing for stay-at-home parents to get back into the work place and not be financially penalized for staying home to raise children and at the same time providing that the bread winner parent will not have his or her financial future tied to the divorced spouse forever.

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