Opposing Sides Brace for 2013 Florida Alimony Reform Legislative Battle
As I recently relayed, the end of the 2012 Florida Legislative Session marked the death of alimony reform for the year. That is not to say that Florida alimony reform is dead forever.
The Florida Bar News is reporting that Alan Frischer, head of the the Florida Alimony Reform Group, is preparing once again to lobby for elimination of the concept of permanent alimony, among other things, in the 2013 legislative session. Florida Alimony Reform says that it simply wants parties to be able to move on with their lives following a divorce without the cord of permanent alimony tieing them together.
But Frischer is facing stiff resistance from the Florida Bar’s Family Law Section (full disclosure: I am a member of the Florida’ Bar’s Family Law Section). From the Florida Bar News:
“Our most powerful adversaries are members of The Florida Bar’s…Family Law Section, with whom we negotiated over the bill as they moved through the House and Senate. The group opposed reform, posted a petition on their website that spelled out the individual provisions they opposed, and lobbied hard to convince legislators that reform was not necessary,” said the FAR [Florida Alimony Reform] website.
Family Law Section Chairman David Manz does not hide his strong feeling on Frischer’s proposed reforms:
“We feel it’s a vested interest issue. It’s a thinly disguised attempt to modify alimony…when it really is disgruntled payors who are paying permanent alimony who want to stop paying it.”
All of this means that, come 2013, we should expect new proposals for alimony reform in Florida’s legislative bodies:
The two sides to agree that the battle isn’t over. Manz said he expects more bills to be introduced next year, and the section is already preparing for that, including possibly hiring a PR firm to counter the aggressive campaign in the press by FAR and its supporters.
If you have questions regarding your Florida alimony and you are looking to retain a Tampa Bay alimony attorney, contact The Law Firm of Adam B. Cordover, P.A., at (813) 443-0615 or by filling out our consultation form.
UPDATE: For an overview of how alimony is currently awarded in Florida, you should read our post entitled “Does Florida Have Alimony Guidelines?“
In the referenced Florida bar news, it states that alimony is to be reduced when a supportive relationship exists, and reduction equivalent to the contribution of the supportive relationship. In the case I am familiar with, the proof was there, the modification was filed for, and the supportive relationship was recognized by the judge. What wasn’t recognized was the amount of contribution by the “live in boyfriend”, the overpayment of alimony from the inception of the supportive relationship (over 6 years but a year of cohabitation), and the cost to bring the issue to court. The payor was required to pay his attorney fees as well as those of the alimony recipient. The recipients fees were in excess of 12,000 as they fought to hold on to current alimony, the payer attorney fees were 8,000. The start date of the modification was the date the judge rendered the decision, the hearing date. The reduction- $800 a month, far less then the money provided by the supportive relationship as testimony of the recipients “live in” and financial affidavits proved. in essence, at the cost of over 20,000 with a reduction of only 800 a month, it will be over two years before the payor will recognize any relief from his efforts. Situations like this require better guidelines that judges must follow. According to the Florida Bar News & Mr. Manz the case I mention above and am very familiar with, does not happen because there already are guidelines in place. If that is the true, then how did this happen? Why is this alimony payor still supporting a working woman in a relationship with another adult male, with about 20% of his hard earned net income each month? Yes, alimony reform is not only necessary for the payors, but for the recipients, the ATMs eventually run out of money.
Florida is among a handful of states that still allows permanent alimony awards.
It’s also one of a few states that lets an alimony recipient reach out and tap into a new spouse’s income through what’s called an “alimony modification”. That’s right…..a new spouse marrying an alimony payer has the very real risk of having the ex drag both of them back into court ($$$ in legal fees) so the ex can get more money.
That’s fair, right? Nope! But legal in our backwards state! There are cases of families who have a disabled child seeing a portion of the disability payment being grabbed also – it’s more family income! These horror stories and more are at the Florida Alimony Reform website.
Our current laws are anti-family and don’t reflect the realities of the 21st century workforce. No one at Florida Alimony Reform is against durational or transitional alimony – it’s the yoke of permanent alimony that makes the parties into eternal litigants and guarantees family law attorneys an endless supply of legal fees from both parties.
Alimony should work just like child support – a fixed amount for a fixed duration. Nobody fights about child support – why should they fight about alimony?
With a 50% divorce rate in Florida, it’s only a matter of time before our outdated laws impact either you, your children, your parents, or close friends. Support changing our outdated laws by letting your elected officials know where you stand on the issue.
Changes are coming in early 2013 in Florida…….for the sake of all of our families!
Permanent Alimony is abusive and detrimental for those that work hard to make a living. I feel this promotes the other party to be lazy and prevents them from making a decent living. The law should be revamped, so the beneficiary can become more productive.
It is time to look at the outdated and unfair practices how many alimony cases are handled these days.
In most cases, the alimony ways and means are no longer executed to protect the disadvantaged or incapable. Many professional, career men and women are stuck paying excessive amounts of alimony for many years to former spouses who personally chose not to pursue a career, skill, or any self sustaining activity during the marriage. Instead, those ex-spouses chose self serving and self centered activities for most of the marriage.
In the aftermath of the divorce, the established, assumed breadwinner must go to work each day to maintain a high level of income to support the former spouse. Meanwhile, as in my case, the ex-spouse enjoys a six figure annual income, half of the assets obtained over the past 20 years of my career including part of my 401k, the house I paid off over the marriage and money for child support.
When is a divorce what it is supposed to be? A separation and split of two adults that no longer wish to share a life together. I understand and acknowledge the continued responsibilities these 2 adults must share in relation to parenting. However, when it comes down to the 2 adults’ lives, why must one person continue to essentially live the other person’s life (i.e. enable) in relation to finances, lifestyle, and disposition? They are grown adults who do not suffer from any sort of handicap or disadvantage. They chose to be the way they are and chose not to do anything about it.
Personal responsibility and accountability have to be a significant factor in relation to divorce and alimony. Currently, whomever is the most responsible and accountable in their daily lives appears to be the person that bears ALL of the financial responsibility and accountability. This has to change.