One of the most difficult cases to settle are cases involving alimony. The reason for this is as result of the lack of guidelines in regard to determining alimony as well as the large amount of discretion the court has in determining the amount and length of the alimony award.
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On May 1, 2013, just hours before the midnight deadline to approve or veto the bill, Governor Rick Scott vetoed a bill that would have ended permanent alimony in Florida. The bill, (SB 718), automatically would have become law if Scott had done nothing by then.
In addition to terminating permanent alimony, the bill would have set much needed guidelines on the amount of alimony and how long one would receive alimony. The bill prevented alimony from lasting longer than half the duration of the marriage and made it more difficult to get alimony in short term marriages.
In regard to custody, the bill created a presumption for equal custody (time-sharing) with the minor children for divorcing parents.
Governor Scott said he vetoed the bill because it would have applied retroactively to anyone who had been through a divorce in Florida in regard to permanent alimony.
“The retroactive adjustment of alimony could result in unfair, unanticipated results. Current Florida law already provides for the adjustment of alimony under the proper circumstances. The law also ensures that spouses who have sacrificed their careers to raise a family do not suffer financial catastrophe upon divorce, and that the lower earning spouse and stay-at-home parent will not be financially punished,” said Gov. Scott.
Although Governor Scott makes a valid point as to retroactive permanent alimony and protecting the homemaker from financial ruin, the remainder of the bill was absolutely necessary to provide the courts and attorneys guidelines and parameters in which to rule and advise clients.