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Will Alimony Reform Lower Florida Divorce Rates?

Florida frequently is ranked as one of the states with the highest divorce rates, based on figures reported by the U.S. Census. But will alimony reform in the state lead more couples to rethink whether divorce is actually the right decision for them?

According to a recent article in the Saint Petersburg Blog, some commentators suggest we “bet that a lot of Florida husbands will be putting the brakes on divorce proceedings until they see what the new alimony rules can do for them.” Even though more women have professional careers than in years past, husbands tend to be the ones who pay spousal support.

If you have questions about filing for divorce, or if you have concerns about alimony, you should contact an experienced Hollywood divorce lawyer. An advocate at the law offices of Steven A. Mason, P.A. can speak with you today.

Changes to Alimony Rules in Florida

What’s going on with alimony reform in Florida? And why could it lead to temporarily lower divorce rates across the state? Let’s take a look at the proposed reforms first. The legislative session begins in March 3, and according to the article, it’s “almost certain to produce a package of alimony reforms.”

Those reforms currently are being sponsored by two Republicans from Lakeland, Florida. The sponsors, Representative Colleen Burton and Senator Kelli Stargel, are the faces of the reform package. However, Representative Ritch Workman, a Republican from Melbourne and chairman of the House Rules Committee, also has “a hefty measure of the clout.”

In many ways, the reforms are aimed at keeping families together and limiting the number of divorces that are finalized in the state. If the reform measure goes through, it will make a number of changes to the current alimony laws in the state. Currently, a spouse can receive alimony for the rest of his or her life. However, the reforms are likely to do some of the following:

  • Put a cap on the number of years of alimony payments;
  • Ensure that the length of alimony payments correlate more closely to the length of the marriage; and
  • Allow judges to consider one spouse’s career sacrifices in order to allow that spouse to develop a more lucrative career.

The Retroactive Cap Provision

What’s not part of the reforms? Remember 2013, when news agencies reported on potential changes to the alimony laws in our state. Those reforms didn’t pass. What’s the difference now? One of the key distinctions between the failed reforms and the current ones is this: the 2013 proposal would have the alimony cap apply retroactively, while there’s no such language in this bill.

Back in 2013, Governor Rick Scott vetoed the bill that would have allowed the alimony cap to apply retroactively, explaining that “it would be unfair for spouses relying on alimony to suddenly have that financial stability pulled out from under them.”

Do you have questions about how potential changes to Florida’s alimony laws could affect you? Don’t hesitate to speak with an experienced Hollywood family law attorney . Contact the Fort Lauderdale and Hollywood Law Offices of Steven A. Mason, P.A. for legal advice at 954-963-5900 or leave a message online.

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