Lawmakers in Florida seek to Limit “Lifetime Alimony”

Is there a groundswell of sentiment to limit the evils of “lifetime alimony?”

A House panel in Tallahassee Florida began moving forward with a controversial bill that would place new limits on alimony, after hearing sharply divided opinions from people who have been through divorces.

The proposal (HB 231) would take steps such as reining in the amount of time that alimony payments could be required, trying to short-circuit alimony in marriages of 10 years or less and shielding retirees form alimony requirements. Sponsor Ritch Workman, R-Melbourne, said the state’s current alimony laws are “archaic,” and he wants to provide guidelines to better resolve such issues in divorce cases.

 I want to make this so people can get divorced and move on with their life,’ said Workman, who is divorced but indicated he has not paid or received alimony.”

But Rep. Cynthia Stafford, D-Miami, described the proposal as one-sided and ”anti-woman.”

 I think this bill will do more harm than good, she said. “

[Source:  The Miami Herald].

Commentary

I’ve considered arguments for and against permanent alimony (“lifetime alimony”). Here are two examples of the “for and against” from our Florida friends:

…Guido Albarran told the subcommittee that 50 percent of his salary goes to his ex-wife. He said it is unfair to require alimony payments decades after divorces occur, at one point likening such situations to ‘financial enslavement.’ ”

Ann Dwyer said she was married for more than 20 years and did not work outside the home as her then-husband built his career. She received permanent alimony and, while she was able to later find a job, said the payments from her ex-husband have allowed her to stay in her home and meet other expenses.”

There are a number of “tools” available to a family law judge to balance the equities in a divorce. Ordering one spouse to pay money for life should not be one of them.

Check out this super duper website for more information on the subject of alimony reform in NJ

Who amongst us remembers the wonderful segment on “60 Minutes, “Point- Counterpoint” with Shana Alexander and Jack Kilpatrick; or the SNL version with Dan Aykroyd and Jane Curtain. Take a moment to view these two versions. The “60 Minutes” version aired on January 1, 1978 (what’s changed?).

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