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Proposed revamping of alimony laws is stopped

Residents of Florida who are getting a divorce and are concerned about alimony may be interested to know that an attempt to overhaul the state's alimony laws has failed this year. Although an agreement between advocates for alimony reform and The Florida Bar was reached, the bill will not be scheduled for a hearing. According to the chairman for the Senate Children, Families and Elder Affairs, there are other more important issues regarding the welfare and safety of children that the committee has to address.

During the past four years, the governor of the state has twice rejected attempts to redo the state's alimony laws. Last year, a vetoed proposal would have allowed alimony to be based on a formula that would have factored in the combined incomes of a divorcing couple as well as the length of the marriage. It also would have abolished permanent alimony and given judges leeway to not follow the formula.

After being on opposite sides of the alimony issue for years, The Florida Bar's Family Law Section and the advocates for alimony reform backed the proposal. However, both parties objected when the bill was amended to include a provision that would have compelled judges to make the principle that children should spend equal time with both parents a starting point for child-sharing decisions. Both the alimony reform advocates and the Family Law section believe that issues pertaining to children should not be included in the bill.

Parents who are going through a divorce should consult with a family law attorney to ensure that their interests and rights are being protected. The attorney may engage in litigation to ensure that a client receives favorable divorce settlement terms regarding issues such as spousal support, property division, child custody, visitation plans, child support, parental relocation and more.

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