Alimony Law Update

Florida Alimony Reform (FAR) Update

TAVARES, Fla., March 12, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Florida Alimony Reform (FAR), the state’s leading alimony reform organization, and the largest such group in the country, today vowed to press on fighting to update Florida’s antiquated alimony laws, despite the Senate’s failure to bring the House-passed reform bill, HB 549, to the floor last week, in the final week of the legislative session.

“I’m hugely disappointed on behalf of our members,” said the group’s spokesman, Alan Frisher, a Licensed FinancialAdvisor and Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA). “After the House passed the bill that we supported, by a vote of 83 to 30, I expected the Senate to follow suit. But our opposition had another plan.”

The effort’s primary opponent is the Florida Bar Association’s Family Law Section, headed by attorney David Manz. Last week in the New York Times, Mr. Manz was quoted as saying that alimony reform advocates are a “very vocal, persuasive minority.”

“Florida is very much behind the times in its alimony laws,” said Mr. Frisher. “And despite opposition from the Family Law Section, many Florida divorce lawyers know this and believe there should be serious revisions to current law.”

Mr. Frisher accepted part of Mr. Manz’s description and took issue with part. “We are vocal indeed, because the state’s permanent alimony laws are backwards, out-of-touch and hugely unfair to everyone in this picture but the lawyers. As far as being a minority, every divorce affects the entire family, and when alimony never ends and payers lose their houses and go bankrupt because they can’t afford their payments, the consequences are devastating to children, grandchildren, stepchildren and new spouses. Even when circumstances are not that dire,” Mr. Frisher continued, “the animosity between ex-spouses over lifetime alimony is terribly destructive.”

FAR Law Factors Now Considered

FAR intends to support future legislation that will end permanent alimony and replace it with alimony based on the length of the marriage and the income of the parties, as the new law does in Massachusetts. The emphasis will be on generous transitional alimony for the lower earner, with the goal of making lower earners self-sufficient, as is the case in most states throughout the country.

In addition to limiting alimony, FAR supports provisions that would lower or end alimony when a recipient is cohabiting for an extended period. Under current law, cohabiting ex-spouses may collect alimony until death, even if they are living permanently with new partners. FAR also supports establishing a meaningful right to retire, so that alimony payers are not forced to work until death to make their payments, as they are now, even after divorced couples have divided marital assets and given the lower earner assets, pensions, and the Social Security payments that all lower earners receive after ten years of marriage.

For more on FAR’s efforts to bring Florida’s alimony laws into the 21st century, please visit

The Florida Alimony Reform logo is available at

Debra G. Simms
To contact attorney Debra G. Simms, P.A. in Port Orange or New Smyrna Beach, FL please call 877.447.4667.

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