A widely-discussed (and disputed) alimony reform bill that was pushed forward by the Florida Family Law Reform Political Action Committee (PAC) failed to even get a hearing before the Florida House and Senate in its 2019 legislative session.
It isn’t the first time that the PAC has tried to push through alimony reform bills — although this may be its least successful attempt in years. The bill was widely opposed by family attorneys who say that it would have lead to poverty and homelessness for women who were reliant on alimony after giving up their own careers for the sake of their husbands and families.
In part, the bill may have lost a lot of support because it used rhetoric that compared alimony to slavery and included as one of its champions a Florida native who has gone fugitive in order to avoid paying his alimony bill.
In general, the push to end “permanent alimony” in Florida never seems to end. Those who oppose it seem to think that permanent alimony is imposed broadly and haphazardly.
In reality, alimony is only awarded after a careful review of the facts in each situation. Lifetime alimony or “permanent” spousal support is generally only awarded when a long-term spouse has given up a career in furtherance of his or her spouse’s career, put aside work to care for the couple’s children or suffers from a disability that makes it impossible for him or her to be self-sufficient. Most of the time, alimony is given for a limited period to help a spouse remain afloat as he or she re-enters the workforce — often after years of being absent from the job market by agreement with their now ex-spouse. Sometimes, spousal support is given for even shorter periods or specific purposes.
If you’re unsure of your rights regarding spousal support, don’t take chances. Talk to a divorce attorney with experience handling alimony cases as soon as you know divorce is imminent.