Governor Vetoes 2013 Florida Alimony and Child Custody Reform Bill
In an unexpected turn of events, Florida Governor Rick Scott has vetoed Senate Bill 718, which envisioned broad-ranging changes to Florida alimony and child custody laws. If signed, the bill would have created a presumption in favor of 50/50 child custody, eliminated permanent alimony, and permitted (in certain circumstances) those who had already been ordered to pay alimony to seek a modification based on the new law.
Governor Scott’s veto letter reads, in part:
Because the subject matter of this bill involves family relationships, numerous Floridians have forcefully expressed their views on the topic. Many Florida families have been impacted by the difficulties of marital issues, both concerning children and starting over. As a husband, father and grandfather, I understand the vital importance of family. In weighing the issues associated with this bill, however, I have concluded that I cannot support this legislation because it applies retroactively and thus tampers with the settled economic expectations of many Floridians who have experienced divorce.
The retroactive adjustment of alimony could result in unfair, unanticipated results. Current Florida law already provides for the adjustment of alimony under proper circumstances. The law also ensures that spouses who have sacrificed their careers to raise a family do not suffer financial catastrophe upon divorce, and that the lower earning spouse and stay-at-home parent will not be financially punished. Floridians have relied on this system post-divorce and planned their lives accordingly.
Though this probably ends the debate for the 2013 legislative session, alimony and child custody reform will likely be a hot topic for years to come.
If you have questions about your Tampa Bay alimony matter, schedule a consultation with a Florida alimony attorney at (813) 443-0615 or fill out our contact form.
The Law Firm of Adam B. Cordover encourages the use of the interdisciplinary collaborative divorce process when handling issues of alimony and child custody.
My biggest complaint about the current situation is that I have been paying $72,000 per year of permanent alimony for over 10 years and I am getting near retirement time. Under the rules as written I must first retire and then petition the court for a hearing, so how does one plan for retirement, this to me is very unfair. Also I am getting remarried to someone who is retired and she is concerned that her assets could come into play for alimony. Additionally 92% of my settlement was my 401K which could now be used for alimony, talk about double dipping. So i have no duration, I have no means of effectively planning for retirement and I have a new spouse whose assets are not necessarily protected.