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Florida alimony overhaul, part 2: proposal in the making?

In part one of this post, we noted that the ongoing debate about reforming Florida’s alimony laws is on the verge of heating up again.

Following Gov. Rick Scott’s veto of reform legislation last year, supporters of overhauling alimony in Florida have not yet offered any specific proposals. But they have been trying to raise awareness of what they believe are archaic laws that often unfairly saddle men (and sometimes women) with excessive alimony payments.

In this part of the post, let’s look at how awareness-raising could translate into tangible proposals for consideration by the Florida legislature this year.

A central figure in last year’s legislative debate, Rep. Ritch Workman, is trying to revise the language in order to craft a new bill.

Unlike last year, the proposal Workman is working on is not expected to call for an end to permanent alimony. It would also steer clear of the retroactivity language that raised so many concerns and led to Gov. Scott’s veto.

Instead, Rep. Workman is looking at tweaking the current system in ways that are more likely to gather wide support. For example, he would like to see language added to Florida’s alimony statutes informing both spouses about the likelihood that each of them could experience a reduced material standard of living after a divorce.

Rep. Workman is also reportedly seeking ways to address the issue of spouses who must forego retirement and work longer than they had hoped or expected in order to pay alimony.

Of course, Gov. Scott is still in office and could wield a veto again if a bill that he disapproves of passes again. But Rep. Workman says he is in touch with the governor and is committed to finding a path forward on the alimony issue.

Source: Miami Herald, “Alimony reform supporters rallly around documentary film,” Kathleen McGrory, Jan. 21, 2014