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Another legislative session – here we go again with alimony reform

PhilThe Florida Legislature will reconvene for it annual session on March 4, 2014.  As with every year, there will be a host of topics for the Florida state House and state Senate to consider- from education, to state health insurance coverage, and once again this year an attempt to revamp the alimony statute in Florida. 

The organization known as Florida Alimony Reform or ‘FAR’, has been attempting a strong grassroots push throughout the state and in Tallahassee to change the wording of the alimony statute.  The biggest push by FAR is to abolish permanent alimony in our state.  Last year, both chambers of the Florida legislature did pass an alimony reform bill which did away with permanent alimony, but the Governor vetoed such. 

This year, it will be interesting to see what form the bill gets passed, and if it does, will the Governor veto such again or not.  Interesting times for family law attorneys and our clients.  Stay tuned.

Posted March 3, 2014

Update: Backers of an alimony overhaul vetoed last year by Gov. Rick Scott have scrapped their efforts to revive the measure. Sen. Kelli Stargel, R-Lakeland, told The News Service of Florida on Tuesday she and her House counterpart Ritch Workman, R-Melbourne, have given up on their plan to reform the state’s alimony laws. Last year, the two sponsored a measure that did away with permanent alimony and would have created new legal standards based on the length of marriages. Scott, who is seeking re-election this year, vetoed the measure in part because of concerns that it would have applied retroactively. The group Family Law Reform, which has been pushing the alimony changes, issued a press release in October saying it was working with Scott and the sponsors to come up with a new plan that would have removed the retroactivity provision. But there won’t be any election-year measure. “We tried to get a deal,” Stargel said. “We got some language we thought people liked and started vetting it. … I just didn’t want to have a food fight this year so we just said scrap it. We’ll push it another year.”

Posted March 5, 2014