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Florida Alimony Reform Update

By The Spence Law Firm June 16, 2021

The 2021 session of the Florida Legislature could have resulted in changes in how divorces are settled, as a proposed bill would have ended permanent alimony. If HB 1559, which “revises various provisions relating to dissolution of marriage & alimony,” had become law, it would have ended permanent alimony, setting guidelines for determination of how much a spouse gets. You can also read about the 2022 alimony reform bill in this blog post.

Update On HB 1559 Alimony Reform

After more than an hour asking questions about proposed alimony reform, the Florida House ultimately gave the legislation a red light. The bill was pulled by its Senior sponsor, State Senator Joe Gruters after it became clear that it would not survive the Senate Rules Committee. This action signifies that it is likely that the legislation will be reintroduced next year.

A Look Into Alimony Reform And HB 1559

Divorce proceedings can be difficult for families as differences in opinions over child custody and shared time with children boil over. Children are often used as weapons in legal fights where parents use time as a bargaining tool in exchange for more or fewer alimony payments from spouses.

The shelved HB 1559 legislation would have set a presumption that parents share their children equally as the time-sharing component of the bill was met with voluminous questions on the House Floor. The main concern with this time-sharing component is that not all parents offer a safe refuge for children, and as such, 50/50 time-sharing may not be in the child’s best interest.

The Court’s Position In Determining Child Custody

However, the sponsor of the House version of this bill stated that there was a lead way for the court to play an active role when it arranges child custody and alimony. Proof that a parent can care for their child would be required by a Judge, who must still abide by the legal factors of determination to determine the outcome of custody.

Interestingly, this time-sharing component was not a part of the original Senate version of the legislation; however, it led to the reform being vetoed the first time it was presented and passed in 2013. The bill would have also capped the length of alimony payments to half the length of the marriage but increase the duration of the payments for any marriages that lasted twenty years or longer.

Legal Representation In Divorce And Child Custody Hearings

In any divorce, whether contested or not, it is essential to secure professional legal representation so that your best interests are protected. Alimony and child custody decisions have a lasting impact on your family, making legal representation vital to a satisfactory result of your divorce or custody hearing.