Alimony Reform Gaining National Attention
The Florida alimony reform movement is gaining national attention. News anchor Anderson Cooper’s daytime talk show “Anderson” will highlight alimony problems facing men in Florida and across the country in an upcoming episode.
Florida’s leading reform group, Florida Alimony Reform, says with no guidelines in the current Florida alimony laws, awards often last until death, and payments can be more than 70 percent of a payer’s income. Permanent alimony is often awarded to alcoholics, criminals, and to women who commit adultery and leave their husbands.
Alan Frisher, a divorce financial analyst and co-director of Florida Alimony Reform, told a Florida TV station that the state’s antiquated alimony laws are “causing people to go into bankruptcy, to fight a system where the only solution is to either pay or be incarcerated.”
According to Florida Alimony Reform, lawmakers in Florida are currently considering identical bills in the House and Senate (House Bill 549 and Senate Bill 748) that would update laws established when divorce was rare and women did not usually work outside the home.
The current law holds that alimony is meant to try and maintain a spouse’s level of living. The new law would create a presumption that both spouses will have a lower standard of living after divorce.
According to Florida Alimony Reform, the major provisions of the bills include:
* Limits on the amount and duration of alimony awards based on income and length of the marriage. Currently, judges decide every case independently. Awards range from no alimony, even to needy individuals, to 70 percent of the payer’s income.
* The right of payers to retire at federal retirement age (currently 66 years old) and end payments in most cases. Currently, there is no guaranteed right to retire and see payments lowered or ended.
* The exclusion of income and assets from second wives in alimony modifications. Currently, if an alimony payer remarries, his new spouse’s resources can be considered part of the household income from which alimony can be drawn, if the payer has a change in circumstances (illness, retirement, job loss, etc.) and needs to adjust payments.
The bill passed its first committee by a wide margin with bi-partisanship support.
Click the link to learn when and where to watch Anderson Cooper’s show on alimony reform.