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Florida Alimony Reform 2015

Last week, the Alimony Reform Bill HB 943 has been overwhelmingly approved The bill now needs the approval of two Senate Committees and then both Legislative Chambers will have floor votes. Finally, Governor Scott will need to approve the bill. If full approved, the new bill would go in to effect after October 1, 2015.

The Family Section of the Florida bar, an influential lobbying group in Florida, has agreed to the bill. This is the first time that this group has been in full support of the alimony reform as it is currently written.

In comparison to the set schedule and dollar amount and duration of child support, Florida's current alimony system has no set amount or duration. The new Alimony Reform Bill HB 943 proposes that alimony will work in a similar fashion. It will also allow discretion for those cases that are unique and outside of the normal allowances.

The new proposed guidelines will determine what the upper and lower end of the alimony as well as the upper and lower end for duration of alimony. This will also take in to account and be calculated by the potential income, underemployment, and the definition of employment. If the Bill completes the approval phase, these terms will replace more vague terms such as "earning capacity" and "imputing income." Best efforts of earning an income will be considered by judges in the new HB 943 Bill and individuals will be encouraged to seek training or education in order to earn an income.

As far back as thirteen years ago similar alimony reform was suggested but failed to successfully wind it's way through the judicial system. The Alimony Reform Bill HB 943 will not effect marital settlements already set.

There is still much work to do before the changes are a reality. The Alimony Reform Bill HB 943 has been well-crafted and is pro-family and pro-marriage. Many Florida residents have gone through non-productive litigation during a divorce and hopefully this new bill will help to slow down some of this wasteful use of resources.

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