TAVARES, Fla., Feb. 5, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The following are statements from the Florida Alimony Reform:
Members of the Family Law Section of the Florida Bar are increasingly breaking from traditional thinking and coming to the realization that Florida's alimony system is outdated.
They are recognizing that replacing permanent alimony with durational alimony "makes perfect sense," said South Florida family law attorney Alan Elkins of Elkins & Freedman, who favors alimony reform. "I think it is a case of fundamental fairness. Both parties should set forth an equal effort in providing for their needs."
Some family law attorneys claim that permanent alimony is not permanent, meaning that it can be modified or terminated. But that is not always the case, and it is a costly and expensive process. And for cohabitation with permanent alimony, the time and money it takes to prove a supportive relationship could easily be tens of thousands of dollars in attorney's fees.
"When spouses and former spouses spend years returning to court, children suffer, finances suffer and every family member's economic future is a little less secure," said Lori Barkus, a family law attorney in Weston, Fla., who, like Elkins, favors alimony reform.
Florida Alimony Reform is at the forefront of change with its proposed legislation. Filed by state Rep. Ritch Workman (R-Melbourne), HB 231 revises the many factors that must be considered when awarding alimony, including how much and for how long. Its Senate companion bill will be filed shortly.
The Tavares, Florida-based organization is seeking the following changes:
- Removal of permanent alimony from current statutes
- The need for alimony payers to have the right to retire at Federal Retirement Age or standard retirement age for high-risk professions
- A defined amount on a formula that is fair, that averages income for both spouses
- Second spouses' income shall not be used to calculate an upward modification of alimony
- Make the law retroactive so that those currently paying alimony can get payments modified under the new law
- Alimony payment for mid-term and long-term marriages should be set at half the length of the marriage as the default duration
"One of the surest ways to prevent excessive litigation is by adopting standards and guidelines. There is a lot less to fight about when everyone is clear on the rights and expectations," Barkus said.
And, while everyone's circumstances may not lend itself to a one-size-fits-all law, a total lack of guidance only results in more litigation.
"Such a law provides uniformity for the court's to follow. In other words a judge in Broward County should essentially rule the same as one in Seminole County," Elkins said. "In addition, It would make our jobs somewhat easier if there was uniformity and guidelines to follow."
Founded in 2010, Florida Alimony Reform was created to change the state's antiquated alimony laws. Based in Tavares, Florida.
The Florida Alimony Reform logo is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=11350
Source: Florida Alimony Reform