TALLAHASSEE, Florida (WFLA) – For the first time in three years there is a dispute over alimony before the legislature.
Reformers are trying to abolish permanent child support and create guidelines that would make child support more uniform across the country.
Elisa Del Ray married an abusive husband.
She finally found the courage to get a divorce when he threatened her with a gun.
“I never thought that I would pay my abuser permanent alimony,” said Del Ray on Thursday in a committee before the legislature.
Del Ray’s case is extreme, but it is one of the reasons the alimony reformers want an end to permanent alimony in the state of Florida.
“The main thing that permanent maintenance payers want is to see the light at the end of the tunnel because a lot of them just have this feeling of hopelessness,” said Alan Elkins of Florida Family Fairness.
Reformers are asked during a panel discussion by lawmakers to limit alimony to half the duration of the marriage and to introduce a standard formula for calculating alimony payments to ensure consistency.
The idea got the attention of Rep. Bob Rommel.
“I want to see if there is a fair formula for most cases. I know that with some divorces there are always extreme circumstances, ”said Rommel.
But family lawyers say the cost of living and the state of life are different.
“And when you try to pigeonhole that and come up with a formula for it, it becomes very difficult to do everyone justice,” said Andrea Reid of the Florida Bar Family Law Section.
In 2016, a bill with guidelines for maintenance payments was passed by the legislature.
Then-Governor Rick Scott vetoed it, but now there is a new governor and new optimism for the reformers.
No bill has been officially tabled yet, but supporters have retained two of the most powerful lobby groups in the state capital.
One change that reformers and family law advocates agree on is that a person should be able to stop alimony after retirement.