While some people across the nation, as well as here in Florida, focus their attention on the controversial documentary called “Divorce Corp,” Representative Ritch Workman is focusing his attention on revising the language of existing family laws, which just might bring some concessions to the contentious debate across Florida about our state’s alimony laws.
As some of our readers here in Fort Lauderdale might remember, discussions about alimony reform reached a peak last year when supporters suggested aggressive changes to existing alimony laws, even suggesting that lawmakers do away with permanent alimony support. Although a last minute veto from Governor Rick Scott displeased hundreds — if not thousands — of people across the state, he explained that the veto was necessary in order to protect the constitutional rights of Florida residents, especially those who might encounter financial troubles if the new law had been retroactively applied.
While lawmakers acknowledge that some people have encountered financial hardship because of permanent alimony, they also recognize that too harsh or overly aggressive changes to existing laws can make other groups of people just as vulnerable to hardship. This is likely why Rep. Ritch Workman has been working so hard on revising the language of the alimony reform bill. Although he admits that his new reform bill will not put an end to permanent alimony nor will it have retroactive provisions, he is proposing minor “fixes” such as allowing retirees to “retire” from paying alimony. He is also suggesting that language be added to existing laws that points out how a spouse’s standard of living might change after a divorce and that this is to be expected.
Although law changes might not happen for awhile, Workman is hopeful that his small changes will be something that Gov. Scott can get behind and that it will be enough to appease both sides of the issue for now.
Source: The Miami Herald, “Alimony reform supporters rally around documentary film,” Kathleen McGrory, Jan. 21, 2014