TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) – Permanent alimony would end after House of Commons legislation, but there is a provision in the bill that addresses the part-time use of children that seems to be causing the most controversy.
According to the law, maintenance payments can only be made for half the duration of the marriage, unless the recipient is medically needy or is caring for a disabled child.
Both men and women who make endless payments to their ex testified in support.
“I can hardly pay these monthly alimony and I see no end in sight,” says the constant maintenance payer Sonia Delgado.
Tim Kruger said he couldn’t marry his girlfriend because her income would be part of his upkeep and increase his payments.
“My pastor says I’m going to hell and my lawyer says don’t marry her,” said Kruger, who is also a permanent alimony.
Opponents, mostly lawyers from the Florida Department of Family Law, argued the change would hurt the most vulnerable.
“These are low-income families who can’t afford lawyers,” said Beth Luna, a family law attorney.
But it is another provision in the bill that is causing the most controversy.
During divorce proceedings, courts would begin by presuming that both parents should be entitled to an equal share of their children.
“It’s kind of one size fits all,” said MP Ben Diamond, a Democrat.
Even some Republican lawmakers raised concerns.
“My parents did not get along and therefore the 50/50 child division would not have worked for them,” said Republican MP Elizabeth Fetterhoff.
Similar laws were passed twice, but then governor Rick Scott vetoed both times.
Even if the legislation doesn’t help those currently on alimony, Delgado believes the status quo isn’t working.
“And that makes marriage in Florida seem more of a burden than happiness,” Delgado said.
The bill is now being moved into the house and has another committee freeze in the Senate.
If passed, the changes would apply to all divorces for which no final resolution was issued before July 1, 2021
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