Alimony

Florida Alimony Reform 2016

Until approximately one week ago I was expecting to write this month’s article on the changes in Family Law that would be taking effect as of October 1, 2016. For the second time in four years the Florida Legislature had passed a bill which would have modified the current alimony laws in this state; and for the second time in four years Governor Scott has vetoed the bill. The result is that everything remains the same and the proposed laws that were passed by the legislature are forgotten, at least until 2017; when they reconvene. The reason the Governor gave for vetoing the alimony reform bill four years ago was due to the fact that it contained a retroactive clause. This would have allowed individuals, who were either ordered to pay or agreed to pay permanent alimony to go back into court and seek either a termination or reduction based upon the change in the law. The Governor indicated that if in fact that provision was removed in the future he would in fact pass an alimony reform bill. This year the retroactive provision was in fact removed but the legislature added a time sharing provision, which would have resulted in an equal time sharing presumption when there are minor children involved. Currently, there is no such presumption, although it is very common that Mothers and Fathers do have equal time sharing with minor children. In spite of what many individuals believe because of their independent research on the internet, there is no such equal time sharing presumption in Florida today. Each case is considered independently and the Court...

Basic Issues Of Divorce

It seems that DIVORCE is often misunderstood.  Unfortunately everyone seems to know someone who is either going through a divorce or has been divorced.  Everyone has heard various “horror stories” about someone’s divorce case.  Many people who come to my office for a consultation are lost or confused as to what may lie ahead.  A common question is “how do I start this?”  Even though every case is obviously different from the next, most cases deal with the same general issues one might encounter in a divorce.  I thought it might be helpful to briefly touch upon each one of these.  1. Equitable Distribution: This is the principle by which assets accumulated and debts incurred during the marriage are divided. In most cases the division will be an equal division of both assets and debts.  This however is not always true.  Florida Statutes allows a Judge to consider various factors in determining the possibility of an unequal distribution.  In addition, non marital assets (assets owned prior to the marriage or received from a source unconnected with the marriage; such as an inheritance) will not be divided unless these assets were co-mingled with marital assets or gifted to the other spouse. 2. Alimony: Alimony is not an issue in every case.  There are a number of factors which must be considered in addressing alimony.  There are several different kinds of alimony which are contained within the law.  The one most people think of is “permanent alimony”, which is a sum of money paid on a monthly income until death or remarriage by the receiving spouse.  This is based upon, among...