Efforts to get rid of Florida’s Maintenance Bill are a common endeavor in the legislature, and this year Republican lawmakers stick to the tradition.
It is. Joe Gruters carries the legislation (SB 1922) this session aimed at eliminating permanent alimony rather than preferring alimony or temporary alimony. Another important part of the bill concerns custody. Under the law, child custody would begin assuming a 50:50 split between both parents.
At Monday’s Judicial Committee meeting, numerous divorced people came to speak on both sides of the matter. Many of the speakers spoke for the second time because the bill was heard last week at a meeting of the Senate Judiciary Committee that ended the vote temporarily postponed.
At that meeting, the bill was put to the vote and passed 6: 4 on party-political lines, although several lawmakers who voted for the legislation said the bill needed work.
Chairman of the Judiciary Committee Sen. Jeff Brandes questioned part of the bill that would start custody assuming a 50:50 split between both parents.
“The only piece of that bill that I’m still working on is the 50/50, and we always put the child’s best interests first,” said Brandes.
It is. Debbie Mayfield said the bill unfairly punishes a parent who is the caretaker of a disabled child.
“I really have a special place for those women or men who take care of these children and they don’t have the opportunity to go out and work and care in the event of a divorce,” Mayfield said. “I don’t know if you’ll ever get this calculation right.”
A representative from the Florida Bar’s family law department spoke out against the bill, pointing out that permanent alimony payments can already be changed. Florida law allows a judge to change alimony payments “with due regard to the changed circumstances or the financial capabilities of the parties or the child”.
Gruters, who found that he was not divorced, described the bill as an “attempt to create security in the system”.
“Ultimately, this calculation tries to create security in the market. And I’ll tell you as a practicing tax CPA that families lose. And the more we can establish the certainty, the less we can have this litigation forever, the better off all taxpayers and Floridians will be, ”said Gruters.
However, many of the speakers at the committee meeting saw the bill more personally.
“This bill reads as an angry bill for mothers and children,” said a spokesman. “We have to honor our mothers who stay home.”
“My ex-wife lives on a simple street,” protested another speaker.
And apparently the legislation has already focused on the personal affairs of a divorced couple. A spokeswoman alleged her husband stopped paying child support because he saw that legislation had been tabled. She claimed that her ex-husband was betting on the passage of the bill and therefore stopped paying child support.
Legislation for house attendants (HB 1559) is in its first of three reject stops.
The Senate’s draft law is now going to the Approval Committee.
Similar legislation was passed in both chambers in 2016, but it was Vetoed by Gov. Rick scott.