Ending a livelihood would violate household values

On January 22nd, the Civil Justice Subcommittee for this year’s legislature met to discuss a number of bills that may become law. One of these bills is HB843, which concerns the maintenance reform. I was hoping to attend the committee meeting to speak out against the bill, but unfortunately not. As an opponent of the law, I feared retaliation from his supporters. I feared harassment and violence against me. If you’ve seen the social media pages of the men’s groups that support this bill, you will know what I’m talking about. What is worse is that the bill has reached a second hearing of the committee.

That issue aside, we are talking about the current Maintenance Act. First, alimony concerns the payment to support an ex-spouse to ensure a livable income. Under Florida Law 61.08, there are four types of maintenance: temporary, rehabilitation, permanence, and permanence. The last type is our concern to discuss the proposed reform and is intended to “take into account the needs and necessities of life, as identified during the marriage of the parties, for a party lacking the financial ability to meet his or her own Needs and necessities of life after dissolution of marriage. “In other words, permanent alimony lasts a lifetime. It is given to ex-spouses from long-term marriages or those that have lasted at least 17 years.

MP Alex Andrade:The Florida upkeep has to come to an end Guestview

The proposed HB843 eliminates this safety net. Why bring maintenance reform so far? If you do a little research, you will find that many of the bill’s supporters are men who simply don’t want to pay child support. They don’t want to pay child support to older ex-wives with ill health problems who are forced to work because their ex-husbands don’t even obey the courts for the way they are. I know this because I’m the child of a breadwinner. My mother, who is from Honduras, where my father found her and married her, cannot work because of her health. Even if she could, it wouldn’t be enough for a comfortable life. She hasn’t had an opportunity to get an education or a career, and now my father wants to take away the support she needs. And that happens to women all over Florida.

Not only will this bill take permanent alimony from the ex-spouses who need it, but alimony is out of the question at all if the paying spouse retires. Bill sponsor Rep. Alex Andrade argues that such measures are about “long-term self-sufficiency”. But does he acknowledge the age and poor health of the women whose lives he threatens? Those in dire need of permanent living? No he does not. And if it’s passed, its bill likely means you’ll see plenty of older women living under a bridge. Women who thought they were valued for always being there for their families. If HB843 is successful, its value is gone forever.

Cindy Stewart is a student at Florida State University in Tallahassee.

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