TALLAHASSEE, Fla., April 29, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Florida Legislature made history on April 18 with the passage of sweeping changes to the state's antiquated alimony laws.
"Opponents to alimony reform are making false claims and using scare tactics to manipulate public perception. Many, if not all of these claims, are coming from the leadership of the Family Section of the Florida Bar, by trying to protect and maintain their perpetual income stream through continued litigation," said Alan Frisher, President of Family Law Reform, Inc.
Myth: The bill doesn't allow a lot of room for judicial discretion.
Fact: The bill removes arbitrary and unbridled discretion by judges. Guidelines are incorporated to allow for consistency and predictability while still allowing for discretion in outlying cases.
Myth: The bill is too radical of a change.
Fact: Numerous compromises were made to make this bill equitable for all involved. Compromises were made to duration and amount; percentages and length of marriage; and standards of proof, just to name a few.
Myth: The 50/50 time sharing is bad for children.
Fact: Psychological literature and social science experts believe that children are best raised by both parents, not just one. Parents who want to be equal participants in their children's lives should have the opportunity to do so.
Myth: The bill is unconstitutional for those with prior settlements in their divorce.
Fact: Both House and Senate legislative lawyers disagree. Non-modifiable marital settlement agreements remain in tact. Only MSA's that are modifiable would, by their very nature, be allowed to be modified; And compromises to the length of marriage are included.
Myth: Permanent alimony can always be modified.
Fact: Permanent alimony, once ordered, is nearly impossible to eliminate, even when circumstances change dramatically in ones life. The criteria of 'ability to pay' vs. 'need' is too difficult a bar to challenge when there is no proof or definition of 'need' stated in the law.
Myth: The bill won't perpetuate settlements among parties.
Fact: With predictability and consistency in the law, more collaborative and mediated settlements are expected because the parties to divorce will not want to waste additional money by going to court.
Myth: The bill negatively affects older woman.
Fact: Older women receiving alimony with long-term marriages should not be affected. Entitlements can be addressed by judges on an individual case basis, even with the new law in place.
Myth: More litigation will occur for old cases, which would clog the courts.
Fact: There are many safeguards incorporated in the new law to prevent this from happening including a laddered approach to modifications, and at least a 25% savings before a motion will be allowed.
Founded in 2010, Family Law Reform was created to change the state's antiquated alimony laws. Based in Tavares, Florida, FLR represents more than 5000 families across Florida.
Source: Florida Alimony Reform