THE NEW REVOLUTION: ALIMONY REFORM

Alimony: it’s a word that strikes fear into the heart of most divorced men and has been a sacrosanct right to many divorced woman. When discussed at cocktail parties or among polite acquaintances, it quickly divides a room and often destroys all enjoyable conversation; but what is alimony?

Alimony is the requirement of one spouse to support another after the end of the relationship. In the United States and most Western societies this requirement is primarily financial. The concept of alimony has existed for centuries, even millennia. While the methodology to calculate this support may differ in various Nations, the concept of support in and after a formal marital relationship is recognized globally with very few exceptions.

Since 2010, there have been significant efforts in Florida to change how and when alimony is awarded; all prior efforts have failed. This year may prove to be different. Once again, in the corridors of the State Capitol, hard core lobbying has been taking place to change §61.08 (Fla. Stat., 2011) – Florida’s alimony statute. The proponents of the “revolution” share disheartening stories of being “trapped” forever because they were ordered or agreed to pay life time alimony. The opponents share their deep dissatisfaction and discouragement about how their alimony awards did not provide enough or were too short to allow them to recover financially.

For the first time, the proponents of reform are working with the Family Law section of the Florida Bar to create a fair and balanced alimony reform bill. Those assisting with drafting these new measures have indicated that, more likely than not, an alimony guideline shall be utilized, much like the Florida child support guideline. However, there is also an indication that permanent or life time alimony shall be abolished. Taking a “wait and see” approach if you are considering divorce could have disastrous results.

If you have questions concerning alimony, divorce, or how your rights may be effected in the future, please contact me immediately at:lhudson@hudsonfamilylaw.com or (561)472-0805

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