What’s new in Family? You may have heard a lot of commotion about the infamous “alimony” bill. Over the past few years, a few versions of the “alimony” bill were sent to the House and the Senate, however this was the first year it actually passed. The bill’s passage was short-lived however, as the governor vetoed it.
The portion of the bill addressing alimony would have the Court’s calculate alimony in a similar format as a child support, as a mathematical equation. In turn, it would provide a lot less discretion with the Courts concerning this highly contested issue. Currently, alimony is based largely on the court’s discretion as they take into consideration a party’s need for alimony (or lack thereof) and the other party’s ability to pay (or lack thereof). There are several specific factors that come into play; however, the Court’s have a large amount of discretion. The vetoed bill had a mathematical equation that make alimony easier to predict and calculate at the onset of a separation or divorce.
There were proponents on both sides, either for or against this version, however, the Family Section of the Florida bar supported the section of the bill addressing alimony. Despite its support on both aisles, there was a section of the bill that created a presumption of equal timesharing (formally known as custody) for both parents, which was not supported by the Family Law section of the Florida bar. Currently, Florida does not have a presumption at all. The court takes several factors into consideration before making a determination at all.
There was one family bill that did pass and it concerns Collaborative Law. Stay tuned, where we provide you with more information about Collaborative style