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Family Law Reform 'Disappointed' with Gov. Rick Scott Veto of Alimony Bill

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla., May 2, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Florida alimony reform advocates are promising to continue the fight following Gov. Rick Scott's decision this week to override the wishes of Legislators and veto an historic bill to reform the state's outdated alimony laws.

The legislation would have eliminated permanent alimony and replaced it with bridge-the-gap, rehabilitative or durational alimony to consistently ensure swift resolution for families. The Florida House and Senate in April passed HB 231 and SB 718, respectively, with wide majorities. Supporters of the bill remain committed to changing the law.

"I am incredibly disappointed with Gov. Scott's decision to veto what we saw as a fair and equitable solution, but we have brought awareness to a situation that is in dire need of change in our state," said Alan Frisher, CDFA, co-founder and spokesman for Family Law Reform. "If an override is not possible, I'm hopeful that Gov. Scott will give us the opportunity to work closely with his office so that we can achieve reform, even possibly by next session."

The sweeping legislation would have brought "fairness, transparency and predictability" to alimony settlements, Frisher said. It would have required the court to make written findings justifying any extension of alimony outside prescribed guidelines. The former spouse seeking alimony also must prove need, and the obligor must have the ability to pay, under the legislation.

The bills also would have allowed judicial discretion under special circumstances, said Frisher, who as head of not-for-profit Family Law Reform backed pro-family legislation that would have helped future generations.

In his letter of veto to Senate President Dan Gaetz, Gov. Scott claimed that "retroactive adjustment of alimony could result in unfair, unanticipated results. Current Florida law already provides for the adjustment of alimony under the proper circumstances."

Others had called the bill anti-woman, a position several female lawmakers, including Rep. Elizabeth Porter (D-Plantation), said were unfounded.

For its part, Florida Law Reform will continue the effort to change the law – and position Florida as a pioneer in family law reform.

"We're disheartened with the governor's decision but we realize that the awareness we've created will be a catalyst for change" Frisher said. "Florida should have been at the forefront of this much-needed change in our family law. We believe that Family Law Reform is needed in Florida and we will continue our pursuit of that mission."

Founded in 2010, Family Law Reform was created to change the state's antiquated alimony laws. Based in Tavares, Florida, FLR represents more than 4000 families across Florida.

CONTACT: Media inquiries only Katie Ward Boardroom Communications kward@boardroompr.com jtalenfeld@boardroompr.com 954-370-8999 Alan Frisher Family Law Reform AFrisher@FloridaAlimonyReform 352-577-5706

Source: Florida Alimony Reform