Florida likely to end lifetime maintenance awards

Florida Old CapitolLegislators in Florida are on the verge of ending lifetime alimony (maintenance) awards, according to newspaper the Sun Sentinel.

Senate Bill 718 was passed by the Florida Senate last week and is expected to come up before both houses of the Florida Legislature for a full vote within days. If passed, the bill would apply retrospectively.

The legislation, sponsored by Republican senator Kelli Stargel, would completely remove lifetime alimony orders following divorce and introduce new limits on monthly payments. These would vary according to the former partner’s income and how long the couple were married, the Sun Sentinel reports.

For marriages of ten years or less, maintenance awards would be limited to no more than 25 per cent of a person’s income. For marriages of up to 20 years, awards would be limited to 35 per cent, and for marriages of more than 20 years, alimony would be capped at 38 per cent of income.

Existing legislation means some divorcees in the state are obliged to support their former spouses on a lifetime basis.

Alan Frisher, a spokesman for campaign group Florida Alimony Reform, told the Miami Herald:

“This is something that has been horrible for people for so many years. People have been stuck paying an order that ties them to their ex-spouse for the rest of their lives, even through retirement.”

Photo of the Florida Old Capitol by Steven Martin via Flickr under a Creative Commons licence

Marilyn Stowe

The senior partner at Stowe Family Law, Marilyn Stowe is one of Britain’s best known divorce lawyers with clients throughout the country, in Europe, the Far East and the USA.

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1 comment

Stephanie Bamberger - April 11, 2013 at 8:34pm

Marilyn,

Thank you for posting this – I have a client who has a divorce judgment out of Florida (his child lives in California which is why I’m involved) with a lifetime alimony provision. I forwarded this to him and hopefully he’ll be able to get some relief if the bill is made into a law.

Yours,
Stephanie M. Bamberger
Sacramento, CA

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