Lawmakers in Tallahassee have cleared the way for Florida to become one of the few states to drastically change the way alimony works.
Politicians are making decisions that will impact families and should proceed accordingly, Nova Southeastern University law professor Michael Dale said.
“They’re very busy and they have all sorts of issues in front of them on a lots of fronts, and this is one where very careful thinking really ought to be used,” he said.
Currently, when a marriage goes south, a judge can award an ex-spouse alimony for life. Most often the man pays.
Both the House and Senate have passed SB 718, which would end permanent alimony. It is now on Gov. Rick Scott’s desk, waiting for his signature or veto.
Under the legislation, a person would be eligible for alimony after an 11-year marriage, instead of seven years as the law states now. And divorce agreements could be amended to change alimony payments.
Lakeland State Sen. Kelli Stargel, who is sponsoring the bill, says it is about fairness.
“I worked hard to put my husband through law school. I've stayed home and I’ve raised our kids,” said the Republican from Lakeland. “But given all of that, if we were to go through the awful situation of divorce, I would want to have a situation that was fair."
The National Organization for women is adamantly opposed to the changes, saying they would deter marriage.
"This is anti-family, anti-marriage,” said Barbara Devane of NOW.
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