A proposal that would revise Florida’s maintenance laws, including the elimination of what is known as permanent maintenance, is ready to go to the floor of the house. The Republican-controlled Justice Committee of the House of Representatives voted on April 6, 12-6 on a party-political basis to approve the bill (HB 1559).
In part, the problem has turned many housewives against ex-spouses who claim they are forced to work long past retirement age so that they can afford to make the necessary maintenance payments. In addition to eliminating permanent alimony, the bill includes a controversial component on child sharing, which would require judges to start with the legal assumption that children should share time evenly between parents.
“Mom and Dad are equally good parents and deserve to be equally part of their children’s lives,” said Billing Sponsor Anthony Rodriguez, R-Miami. “Basically, it says mom and dad each get 50% of the child’s time in court, and that would be the starting point.”
Opponents say, however, that judges should have more say on child sharing issues. “We create situations where there is a unified approach to the problem of child sharing rather than allowing the court to draw up a time-sharing plan that is in the best interests of the child.” Rep. Ben Diamond, D-St. Petersburg said. When the judicial committee voted, the bill was positioned to go to the entire House. Similar legislation in the Senate needs to be clarified by the Regulatory Committee before it can be passed on to the entire Senate.