Child Custody Provision Cited as Key Driver in Florida Alimony Overhaul Veto

- Gary E. Williams

Before Florida’s highly contentious alimony legislature met Gov. Rick Scott’s desk earlier this year, it had passed both House and Senate votes, and by comfortable margins.

The bill, which sought to put an end to permanent alimony after the payer’s retirement, as well as alter payments based on the duration of the marriage, also included some “controversial” provisions regarding child custody and time-sharing – provisions Gov. Scott cited directly in his decision to veto.

In announcing his decision, Gov. Scott referred to the real-life, long-term repercussions for Florida families going through the divorce process, specifically the fact that the statute seemed to go against the best interests of minor children.

This was not the first time Gov. Scott had vetoed alimony legislation – a similar bill was struck down last year.

Divorce & Alimony in Florida

Legally, alimony is defined as a monetary allowance paid to one spouse by their former spouse upon a divorce or legal separation. Essentially, these payments are meant to help continue the standard of living in which a spouse has grown accustomed to.

In the state of Florida, there are currently six forms of alimony that can be awarded by a court. They include:

  • Durational alimony
  • Permanent alimony
  • Bridge the gap alimony
  • Rehabilitation alimony
  • Lump sum alimony
  • Temporary alimony

Current state laws also allow the court a great deal of discretion in determining how alimony is awarded, and the duration for which it is expected. However, family laws are constantly being reviewed and updated, including those with respect to alimony. As a result, it is increasingly important for spouses, in any case involving divorce and alimony awards, seek the appropriate legal guidance.

Finding a Florida Divorce Attorney

Are you or a loved experiencing divorce or a dispute regarding your divorce proceedings, such as those related to alimony awards? If so, it is critical that you contact a qualified family law attorney as soon as possible. Only an attorney specializing in this area of law, and the current state statutes, can evaluate your case and determine what, if any, paths towards legal action might be available.

For those residing in and around Pinellas County, Florida, the Law Firm for Family Law can provide the legal guidance and wisdom necessary when dealing with family law matters, including divorce and alimony awards. Our team of skilled attorneys led by founder, Gary Williams – who is also one of 18 Board Certified Experts in Marital and Family Law in the county – are committed to handling every case with the highest levels of professionalism, compassion and integrity, and can provide the support you are looking for during this trying time.

Our firm also specializes in a number of other family law areas, including military divorce, high-asset divorce and child custody claims. To schedule a free preliminary consultation with a member of our family law team, call the Law Firm for Family Law today at (727) 531-8737.