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ALIMONY REFORM – 2016

April 25, 2016 by bjh1

Earlier this month, the Florida legislature sent a proposed new law to Governor Rick Scott for review.   This proposed law would have modified how alimony is determined in a divorce, and also the initial premise of parental time-sharing for minor children.  On April 15, 2016, Governor Scott vetoed the legislation.

The proposed legislation provided for the determination of alimony based upon a formula, taking into consideration several factors.  With the veto, the current law remains in place, and alimony is determined based upon many factors and criteria as set out in Florida Statute section 61.08, and not through a set formula.

The proposed legislation would also have changed the starting point of determining a parenting plan for minor children.  It would have allowed for the initial premise that equal time-sharing was in the best interests of the child.   The veto means that the current standard stays in place, i.e. what is in the best interests of the minor child(ren).

In his letter to Florida Secretary of State Kenneth W. Detzner, the Governor stated the following:

“The one constant, though, is that when a divorce involves a minor child, the needs of the child must come before all others.  Current law directs a judge to consider the needs and interests of the children first when determining a parenting plan and time-sharing schedule.  This bill has the potential to upend that policy in favor of putting the wants of a parent before the child’s best interest by creating a premise of equal time sharing.”

He went on to say that the state’s judges

“must consider each family’s unique situation and abilities and put the best interests of the child above all else.”

The Governor did not discuss the proposed modifications to alimony law.  As such, it appears that the alimony modification would have passed had it not been tied to the modification of time-sharing standards.  We shall see if future proposed modifications regarding alimony, and time-sharing for minor children, are presented in separate legislation, and whether the Florida Legislature takes up these issues in their next term.

 

*Read the Governor’s veto letter here:

http://www.flgov.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/4.15.16-Veto-Letter-SB-668.pdf

 

 

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