TALLAHASSEE, Fla., April 5, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Florida Legislature took a big leap forward on April 4 toward equitable alimony reform with the passage of Senate Bill 718.
The Florida Senate voted 29-11 in favor of the bill, which eliminates permanent alimony, replacing it with bridge-the-gap, rehabilitative, or durational alimony to consistently ensure swift resolution for families.
The legislation also requires the court to make written findings justifying any extension of alimony outside of the prescribed guidelines. The former spouse seeking alimony also must prove they have a need, and the obligor must have the ability to pay, under the proposed legislation, which was sponsored by Senator Kelli Stargel (R-Lakeland).
"I agreed to sponsor this alimony reform legislation, because I believe we need a fair way to deal with this very emotional issue," said Senator Stargel. "As we have gone through this process we have tried to make the bill address the concerns of many people. Many agree that the current system is broken and bad for families, especially those with children. This bill creates guidelines for our judges to follow, but maintains judicial discretion."
Passage of alimony reform legislation comes at a time when the playing field is leveling out and just as many women as men are paying alimony, noted Senator Tom Lee.
"This is, to a large extent, about creating an environment where all parties have to come together and no one has huge leverage over the other so they are not held up by the legal system and drawn into long, complicated emotional battles that destroy families," Lee said.
Family Law Reform, the Not for Profit organization that fought for passage of the bill, worked long and hard with our sponsors to make it fair and equitable, and while the bill is not perfect, it goes a long way toward our goal, said the organization's co-founder and president, Alan Frisher.
"This is an epic moment for our organization and I am thrilled that our senators recognized the need to update Florida's antiquated alimony laws," Frisher said.
Companion legislation, House Bill 231, which is sponsored by Rep. Ritch Workman, R-Melbourne is expected to go to the full House for a vote next week.
Founded in 2010, Florida Alimony Reform was created to change the state's antiquated alimony laws. Based in Tavares, Florida, FAR represents more than 3,500 families across Florida.
The Florida Alimony Reform logo is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=11350
CONTACT: Media inquiries only Susan R. Miller or Katie Ward Boardroom Communications firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com 954-370-8999 Alan Frisher Florida Alimony Reform AFrisher@FloridaAlimonyReform.com 352-577-5706
Source: Florida Alimony Reform