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Florida lawmakers may soon put an end to lifetime alimony

Members of the House Civil Justice Subcommittee signed off a Republican-backed bill aimed at eliminating lifetime alimony payments in Florida this past week. The bill's supporters must now wait for the same piece of legislation to heard by state senators. If Republican lawmakers are successful in getting the bill passed on its first round in the Senate, then the legislation will be on its way to being voted on by the entirety of both legislative bodies.

If the bill were ultimate to get passed then it would place caps on how long a spouse can be forced to make spousal support payments. Florida still allows for judges to award recipient husbands and wives lifetime alimony awards.

This new legislation would also place a cap on two other types of Florida alimony. It would limit spouses who are awarded durational alimony to only receiving it for half of the length of their marriage. It would also make it where husbands and wives who are ordered to pay rehabilitative alimony only have to make payments for five years.

The new bill also includes a clause that states that individuals who are nearing retirement age wouldn't have to make payments at all. One of the bill's Republican supporters pointed out that making a retired individual pay up or go to jail prohibits otherwise law-abiding individuals from being able to retire with dignity.

One of the bill's opponents is the Florida Bar Association. A spokesperson for the organization argues that the idea of eliminating the ability for spouses to agree to permanent alimony takes things way too far. She notes that the ability for spouses to make such awards should remain in the hands of husbands and wives and not lawmakers.

It's unclear when the Senate is slated to hear this matter.

Alimony is one of those many hot button issues that often hold couples up from resolving their divorces. Discussions about spousal support don't have to be so difficult though.

An alimony attorney can help you identify valuable assets that you may be able to give or request instead of spousal support. You may be able to broker a lump sum payout with your ex to avoid having to make or receive smaller monthly payments. Your lawyer can advise you of the many viable options that you can pursue in your Fort Myers divorce case.

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