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Is alimony reform coming to Florida in 2017?

When it comes to child custody and alimony, there isn't a one-size-fits-all solution. Rather, there are laws and past cases that set precedents as to how child custody and alimony are adapted to a family's situation based on the best interests of the child. Alimony has been a part of some people's divorce decrees based on certain factors between divorcing spouses. However, the process of how alimony is determined may be getting a makeover in 2017.

This is because Florida state representatives have moved to adapt how, and in which scenarios, alimony is awarded. Essentially, the bill aims at making alimony more difficult to award and later, to make it more difficult of a decision to be changed. This bill would not put an end to the awarding of alimony in Florida. Rather, it moves to change what factors can affect whether alimony is awarded, the amount that is awarded and for how long alimony is awarded.

The 26-page bill, proposed by a Florida state representative, contains a guideline that would 'figure in' a spouse's 'services rendered' in the home. Services such as homemaking, child care, education and career building of the other spouse should be considered when determining alimony awards. A change in the alimony awarding process has been a hot-topic for years with legislature. Other similar bills have been unable to pass due to how they would affect previously settled cases in which alimony was awarded in that the bill didn't address those people appropriately, according to Governor Scott.

Yet another bill looking to amend alimony was previously struck down by Scott because it put the "wants of a parent before the child's best interest by creating a premise of equal time-sharing." In all child custody decisions, a child's best interests are the baseline, not parent's best interests. Hopefully the parties can come to a finalized change that is beneficial for all parties and that passes reform specifications for each party. If not, alimony provisions will remain where they currently stand.

Source: floridapolitics.com, "Alimony reform bill filed for 2017," Jim Rosica, Jan 20, 2017

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