New verification of upkeep funds

MIAMI – When Hector Torres divorced in 2001, he was taken by surprise by the alimony a Florida judge was giving him: $ 2,000 a month for the rest of his life. He was 34 years old at the time, which meant that after 13 years of marriage, he was holding out the prospect of payments for four or five decades.

“It was so stunning for me,” said Mr. Torres, now 46, a Miami web designer.

Now he hopes a bill going through the Florida Legislature will bring him relief. The measure, passed by the state Senate and put to the vote in the House of Representatives this week, would generally end the perpetual alimony and create formulas to determine the amount and duration of the benefits.

Alimony payments would take no more than half of a marriage. The maximum amount would not exceed 38% of the payer’s gross monthly income for marriages of 20 years or more and less for shorter marriages. And the bill could be applied retrospectively to existing agreements like that of Mr Torres.

Florida is one of a growing number of states that are aggressively advocating changes to maintenance laws. A similar measure went into effect in Massachusetts last year, and similar bills are pending in New Jersey, Connecticut, Colorado and Oregon.

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