Denver, CO (Law Firm Newswire) May 22, 2013 – The Florida legislature is currently considering a bill to end lifetime spousal support.
A bill was recently passed by the Senate and is now before the House which would end the practice of awarding permanent alimony in Florida and would establish a table of alimony formulas for use by the courts going forward.
“This is just the latest in a groundswell of alimony changes across the U.S.,” said Denver divorce attorney Bill Thode. “Similar bills are pending in Colorado, Connecticut, New Jersey, and Oregon.”
Permanent alimony is considered a holdover from an earlier generation; a marriage would end and the wife, typically under-employed or never employed outside the home, would be awarded lifetime alimony in order to be able to live comfortably after decades of dedication to domestic life. But for men and women not of a certain age, the concept of lifetime alimony is antiquated and unreasonable. Women currently make up 47 percent of the U.S. labor force. New structures regarding alimony payments typically do not last longer than half the length of the marriage and for marriages that last 20 years or longer, the maximum amounts of alimony payouts do not exceed 38 percent of the alimony payer’s monthly gross income.
Critics of the Florida bill have expressed concern that the bill would be too “cookie-cutter” and not allow a judge to craft fair results. But advocates of the bill argue that alimony payments originated from English common law on the assumption that a husband was bound to support his wife throughout her life, due to her natural dependence. Alimony should be awarded in a manner which provides for a transition to a new life, but not permanently fund that new life, say advocates. Alimony should be awarded based on need, with established guidelines, and both the amount of the alimony and its length should be determined via an established formula, say reform advocates.
U.S. alimony laws were altered in the 1970s to better reflect need and recognize the growing number of women who could and did support themselves. While most states still allow permanent alimony awards, the terms can be and often are modified.
Thode Law Firm, P.C.
201 Steele Street, Suite 201
Denver, CO 80206
Call: (303) 330-0425