Some women have campaigned for a bill that would put an end to Florida’s maintenance system. They say it is not fair that they have to fund their ex-husbands’ lifestyles forever.
- “I’ve been married for 15 years and this is my 15th year paying permanent living to a graduate man who simply refuses to work,” said Natalie Willis, a doctor from south Florida.
What’s new: The 1922 Senate Draft, sponsored by Senator Joe Gruters (R-Sarasota), was approved by the Chamber’s Judiciary Committee yesterday and is now moving to the Grants Committee.
- Supporters of the law, including a group called Florida Family Fairness, claim trends show that more and more child support payers are women – and the law, as it was written, sometimes entitles their ex-husbands to life support payments.
The state of affairs: Under the new bill, the longest alimony payments could not exceed half the duration of the marriage.
- Maintenance ends once the payer reaches retirement age, while permanent maintenance under the current system ends in most cases only when someone remarries or dies.
- The text also contains a controversial “guess” that dividing the children into 50/50 would be in the best interests of the children.
The other side: Opponents of the bill – many of them women – say the current system works, as many who stay home mothers divorce too late in life to start careers.
Context: Similar bills on maintenance reform were rejected by former Governor Rick Scott in 2013 and 2016.
- Worthless: The veto versions would have been applied retrospectively, but the new proposal would not.
This story first appeared in the Axios Tampa Bay newsletter, which is designed to help readers get smarter, faster, on the most important news in their own garden.