Child support could be a thing of the past in Florida.
The legislature has a measure (SB1416) that would change the terms for couples separating. This includes eliminating the possibility of divorced couples remaining forever attached.
“Divorce is devastating,” said Sen. Joe Grutersthe Senate sponsor, “but the process of divorce is more devastating for the families involved.” The bill aims to streamline the process and achieve a more equitable division of assets even in acrimonious situations.
House lawmakers passed the law Tuesday by a vote of 102 to 12, without a floor debate. That was after the Senate passed the bill by a 36-6 vote in April.
But while the House and Senate ultimately passed a joint bill, Gov. Ron DeSantis can still cancel the invoice. He appeal filed a similar attempt at alimony reform was passed by the legislature last year.
Temple hopes the legislation can make breakups easier.
“Divorce is tough,” Temple said in committee. “It can be ugly and hurtful. I believe this bill will help make that process smoother and less ugly.”
The legislation would replace permanent financial situations with “stamina,” in which courts would determine financial obligations based on the length of marriages.
During the committee, Temple emphasized the need to make the end of a marriage final, including financial transactions. The bill provides a one-year period in which all post-divorce agreements can be re-evaluated.
Importantly, the legislation is not retroactive and will not reverse existing agreements.
Gruters and Temple worked closely with parties on both sides of the alimony debate and enlisted the support of different lawyers and attorneys at the time.
“We sat down and worked out every single issue that was in conflict with advocates and reform groups,” he said. He recalls divided crowds and extended debates before his alimony bill passed last year. By comparison, the majority of public comments on this bill have been supportive.
Gruters said his goal is to ensure a system is put in place that leads to quicker resolutions and allows families who are breaking up to fairly share the wealth accumulated during their union, rather than enriching divorce lawyers for the ages.
But the legislation still has critics. Camille Maloneof First Wives advocacy grouphas said the bill will hurt women, including survivors of domestic violence like herself.
“This law does not protect prospective wives when choosing to stay home to start a family,” she said tweeted, adding that “46 other states have forms of permanent alimony. we are not back We already have great laws protecting women and mothers. Please obey these laws.”
She has asked DeSantis to veto the bill again this year and has also reached out to the First Lady Casey DeSantis.
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