Florida's governor vetoed this year's attempt to change alimony laws in the state, but another push to eliminate lifetime alimony and the way that it's awarded is expected to begin again in 2014. The issue of alimony is a hotly contested one, and many people feel that lifetime spousal support is an unfair burden for those who have to pay it. According to some of those who support changing alimony laws, courts often refuse to make changes to alimony requirements, forcing individuals into bankruptcy and insolvency.
Those who are against changing the laws note that the bill presented to the governor would have allowed retroactive changes to alimony support. The concern was that individuals, especially older people, who depend on alimony to survive, could have it taken away. Lawmakers who are in favor of changing the laws state that they've taken note of these concerns and are making the requirements for changing an alimony decree even more stringent.
The new bill that is expected to come from Florida lawmakers would require a substantial change of circumstances for someone to be able to receive a reprieve from or adjustment to spousal support payments. Newly drafted legislation will focus on alimony that goes beyond the length of the marriage or in cases where an individual could prove that they agreed to payments under duress. The bill is expected to hinge on the governor's approval; the previous bill enjoyed bipartisan support in the senate and the house.
Alimony is still important for many people who chose their family over their career, but it's important that an equitable agreement is reached during a divorce. A lawyer could help someone understand their rights and help negotiate for fair payments on their behalf.
Source: Herald Tribune, "Alimony reform back on table", Lloyd Dunkelberger, August 11, 2013