Brandon, FL (Law Firm Newswire) August 22, 2012 – Some Florida activists say that the state’s alimony laws, which provide for permanent alimony in some cases, are “antiquated” and should be eliminated.
Others have criticized this position, saying that ending permanent alimony would only protect “wealthy men who cheat on their wives.” However, there is a middle ground.
“The fact is that Florida’s alimony laws did need to be changed, and the state legislature accomplished this with the help of Florida family law attorneys,” said O. Reginald Osenton, a Brandon divorce lawyer. “Alimony reform in the state of Florida is something best done with the assistance of the people who are most informed about the law.”
The push to end permanent alimony in the state is led by a group called Florida Alimony Reform. Until recently, the leaders of the organization were mostly men who were dissatisfied with permanent alimony, in which the breadwinner spouse in a divorcing couple can be required to pay alimony until one of the parties dies or the recipient spouse remarries.
Recently, however, a new activist joined the group: Debbie Leff Israel, a founder of the Florida Second Wives Club. Israel said she wants to get married but does not want her paycheck to go to support her fiancé’s ex-wife, who is receiving permanent alimony. In Florida, a family law judge may increase the amount of permanent alimony if it is justified, and if the payor spouse’s financial circumstances have changed. This can include remarriage to a person who is earning money. Israel told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel that she wants to demonstrate that permanent alimony is unfair for men and women.
However, not everyone is on board. In an article published on FloridaVoices.com, David Manz, chair of the Family Law Section of the Florida Bar Association, which represents more than 4,000 family law attorneys in the state, said that the position of the activists was too extreme. The Florida legislature rejected a ban on permanent alimony last year, and instead passed legislation that provides stricter guidelines for judges in determining alimony payments.
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