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Proposed law to reform spousal support

Spousal support, or alimony as it is commonly referred to in Florida, is a hot button issue in many divorces. According to the Sun Sentinel, the Sunshine State is one of only a few states that have lifelong spousal support payments. As things currently stand, Floridians who divorce and receive alimony payments will continue to receive them for the length of their spouse’s life. The exception is that those payments stop if the supported spouse remarries.

The law has been discussed frequently by the state Legislature, and it is again the subject of a reform bill being debated in the House. Two years ago a similar bill made it all the way to Gov. Rick Scott’s desk, but it went unsigned due to the retroactive nature of the bill, which gave him pause. The version currently at issue has no such clause. In its current state, the bill would use a formula to calculate how much spousal support one should receive and for how long based on both the difference in income and the number of years a couple was married.

According to Money magazine, only 10 percent of divorce cases have spousal support awarded, down from a quarter of cases in the 1960s. This is because many couples negotiate a different arrangement in a divorce settlement, so a judge does not end up awarding alimony. Women are on the receiving end of these payments more often than not, with only 3 percent of men getting alimony check each month. It is unclear if the Florida law will be reformed, but with alimony being the cause of such controversy, reform bills are not likely to go away if it does not pass.

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