Divorce Mediation Outcome Inspires Alimony Reform in Florida
Thursday, January, 12, 2012
The outcome of a divorce mediation in Florida has caused lawmakers to consider modifying Florida's alimony laws. The case in question was an 8 year long legal battle for financial advisor/certified divorce financial analyst Alan Frisher, resulting in an order to pay “permanent alimony” to his former spouse.
Justification for Divorce Alimony Modifications
According to Rep. Ritch Workman (R-Melbourne), the alimony laws in Florida are antiquated and unfair. These laws are anywhere from 50 to 70 years old. They were written at a time when it was assumed that there were no other means of income for the divorced wife and the husband was the sole provider of income.
The typical result of these laws in Florida amount to a much longer alimony pay period and larger alimony payments. Given that times have changed and women are currently able to seek work outside of the home, Frisher and his supporters believe that these laws are antiquated and biased against the husband.
Proposed Alimony Reform Provisions
Identical bills proposed by Senator Miguel Diaz de la Portilla (R-Miami Dade) and Workman include the following provisions:
- - Current alimony payers may be able to modify the judgements in their case.
- - Alimony would be capped at 20 percent of the net monthly income of the payer.
- - Judges should not consider adultery in alimony payment decisions.
- - Alimony payment durations should be limited based on the length of the marriage.
- - Alimony should be terminated upon retirement age.
These provisions are not without opposition. Rhoda Cato, a family law professor at Florida A&M, calls it a “backlash on women.” She notes that the bills are proposed by men, and that many of them have felt “the sting of the system” in divorce mediation and litigation. She adds that this represents an erosion in protective policies, especially for stay at home mothers.