On April 18th, the Florida House passed the Florida Alimony Reform Bill with an overwhelming majority of 85 yeas and only 31 nays. Although the bill has been passed by both the State Senate and the House, it’s not law just yet. The bill now sits on Governor Rick Scott’s desk, where he has until May 8th to sign the bill into law before the general session adjourns. Failure to take action before May 8th would result in the bill automatically becoming law. This measure, SB 718 ad HB 231, would:
- Terminate permanent alimony;
- Presumption in favor of equal time sharing of any minor children;
- Award spousal support on the basis of the length of the marriage and employability of both parties involved.
This bill has been called “anti-women”, “anti-marriage”, and just plain “mean spirited” by members of both the Senate and the House; however, many feel this bill is “really about fairness” and “what’s best for Florida families”. The bills sponsor, state representative, Ritch Workman, R-Melbourne, in explaining why he supports this bill, stated “Divorce sucks and Florida law shouldn’t make it suck worse.” Groups on both sides of the issue, including F.A.R. or Florida Alimony Reform and “Truth about Alimony Reform” are currently Lobbying Governor Rick Scott, in hopes of influencing his decision to either sign the bill into law or veto it entirely. Either way, Florida will have an answer to its alimony question very soon.