Bill Seeks to Amend Florida Law on Alimony and Custody
For the third time since 2013, Florida State Senator Tom Lee has introduced a bill that would significantly overhaul Florida law with respect to alimony, custody, and divorces. SB 250 is a 41-page bill that impact many different areas of Florida family law, including the following:
- – Requiring divorce judges to justify the relevant factors supporting their alimony awards by issuing specific written findings of fact;
- – Changing the calculations that are currently used to award alimony, considering a spouse’s voluntary unemployment or underemployment as a factor in an alimony award, and excluding earnings or gains on undistributed retirement accounts, so that alimony would be harder for spouses to get;
- – Creating a legal presumption that equal time-sharing with a minor child for both parents is in the best interest of the child;
- – Requiring child custody judges to consider the frequency that a parent would leave a minor child in the care of a non-relative when the child could be in the care of the other parent;
- – Creating a framework for the collaborative law process in divorces; and
- – Allowing a spouse to seek an immediate modification of alimony in certain situations.
Lee’s bill addresses many family law issues similar to those in his prior bills, including the controversial 2013 bill that Governor Rick Scott ultimately vetoed, which would have ended what is often referred to as “permanent alimony.” Scott chose to veto the measure out of concern that it would retroactively reduce alimony payments, thus creating potentially unfair results. Another comparable measure died this year, which sought to base alimony awards on the length of marriages and the relative earnings of each spouse. Some of Lee’s detractors claim that his insistence on reforming Florida family law stems from his own divorce disputes, which included litigation over the amount of time that he could spend with his children.
Florida Alimony and Child Custody Laws Can Be Complex
Whether these significant changes to Florida’s family laws will actually occur remains to be seen. Given the past resistance that Lee has faced in his efforts, as well as the controversy these bills have raised, it is unclear whether Florida law will ever undergo some sort of alimony reform. However, current Florida law addresses alimony awards, as well as the standards that are used to determine child custody and the best interest of a minor child. These are both crucial legal issues that are often hotly contested in many Florida divorces. Given the importance of decisions concerning these issues and the relative complexity of these areas of the law, it is essential that any individual who is facing these issues get the assistance of a Florida divorce attorney.
Call Your Experienced South Florida Family Law Attorney Today
Vanessa L. Prieto Law Offices, LLC, provides comprehensive legal representation to individuals who are facing divorces, child custody disputes, and any other type of family law-related matter. No matter what your situation may be, and whether it involves alimony, child custody, or other family law issue, we are here to help you, every step of the way. Contact our office today by calling 954-800-2362 or filling out the online form located on our website.