The Florida Bar

Florida Bar News

Alimony back on lawmakers’ agenda

Senior Editor Top Stories
Rep. Anthony Rodriguez

Rep. Anthony Rodriguez

Florida lawmakers are once again proposing sweeping changes to alimony, the latest in a series of attempts that began in 2010.

Sen. Joe Gruters, R-Sarasota, filed SB 1922 and Rep. Anthony Rodriguez, R-Miami, filed HB 1559, on March 1. Neither bill has yet to be heard.

Both measures propose a sweeping overhaul that would eliminate permanent alimony and set time limits for temporary alimony. Both measures would prioritize so-called “bridge-the-gap” alimony and prohibit courts from considering adultery when calculating alimony payments.

The measures also contain a highly contentious provision that “equal time-sharing for each minor child is in the best interest of the child.”

The measures are similar to bills last year, HB 843 by Rep. Alex Andrade, R-Pensacola, and an attorney, and SB 1832, by Sen. Kelli Stargel, R-Lakeland, that failed to pass.

Lawmakers have proposed various forms of alimony rewrites since 2010.

In 2015, HB 943 and SB 1248 were awaiting passage by their respective chambers, but died when the session ended abruptly three days early, the result of a major disagreement over health-care spending.

Both measures were supported by the Family Law Section.

“This section is disappointed with the outcome this session,” said West Palm Beach attorney Thomas Sasser, who served as chair of the Family Law Section’s Alimony Subcommittee and advocated for the legislation. “We worked very hard for almost a year now attempting to reach a compromise on changes to the alimony statute. We believe we in fact did that.

Former Gov. Rick Scott vetoed alimony reform measures in 2012 and 2016, the latter because of the child custody component.

News in Photos