Florida tries to end permanent alimony again.
Proposed changes to Florida’s current alimony laws have cropped up once again in Tallahassee. Florida HB 943 is similar to 2013’s SB 718, which is HB 943’s vetoed predecessor. SB 718 would have been retroactively applied to alimony decisions, and according to Governor Scott, “The retroactive adjustment of alimony could result in unfair, unanticipated results.” HB 943 does not have any provisions that retroactively apply to previous alimony decisions.
Tom Sasser an attorney from West Palm Beach who represents the Florida Bar Family Law Section, said “This is the time to make this go forward and to alter the way we deal with alimony and the landscape of alimony in Florida.” Florida Bar Family Law Section did not support the 2013 SB 718.
Alan Frisher, a founder of Family Law Reform, called HB 943 a “step in the right direction toward balanced compromise.” Another reason the 2013 SB 718 was vetoed as it did not allow judges to stray from the formulas provided under the law regardless of the condition.
It is important to understand that HB 943 is currently an active bill in our current legislature session. We ask our readers to be aware that some parts of the bill may change after we publish this article. With that being said, SEM Law Group Law will highlight a few revisions from the proposed bill. Currently, the proposed bill would eliminate permanent alimony in Florida. Also, the bill would propose guidelines that judges will use to determine alimony awards. However, judges still will have leeway and be able to use some discretion in individual situations. Marriages under two (2) years are weight heavily toward $0 alimony awards. One final revision from HB 943 that is worth taking note is the language to eliminate new spouses income for alimony modifications. This provision would keep the new spouse’s financial information off-limits in an alimony modification case.
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