What Is The Status Of The Change In The Law Regarding Alimony And Child Custody In Florida?
For a while it appeared that big changes may be taking effect that would have restructured alimony payments and child custody in Florida. However, Governor Rick Scott vetoed the bill recently.
When vetoing, Governor Scott said he struck down the bill because he was concerned with how it would change child custody. The bill would have required judges to presume that an equal timesharing arrangement between parents was best for the child before looking into other details of the case. Governor Scott believes that judges should look at each family’s situation and abilities, and put the best interests of the child above everything else.
In addition to changing child custody arrangements, the bill would have ended permanent alimony in Florida, and would have set up a new formula to calculate alimony based on the length of the marriage, the difference in income between the spouses, and other factors. Currently, there are several different types of alimony in Florida, and it is used to meet a number of different needs post-divorce. Generally, alimony is awarded at the discretion of the judge and is used to assist the lower earner in maintaining the marital lifestyle for at least some period of time after a divorce.
Child custody and alimony are two of the biggest issues in most divorces, and for now the law in Florida will go unchanged. However, it is expected that in future legislative sessions, legislators will propose changes to those laws, but will probably introduce them in separate bills rather than combining them.