Legislation Could Affect Alimony Payments

ABC-7.com WZVN News for Fort Myers, Cape Coral

by ABC News

FORT MYERS, FL – It’s potentially the end to permanent alimony.

That’s what a bill passed by the Florida Senate would do–along with other major changes to the state’s alimony guidelines.

The bill is aimed at creating more consistency in how alimony is given out.

If the legislation becomes law, it would affect future divorce proceedings and could affect those who are currently paying.

“I would call it a very sweeping change in long established Florida law regarding alimony,” Luis Insignares, a marriage and family lawyer.

This bill would end permanent alimony.

“Whether it’s the woman or the man, it comes to a time where they have to be on their own,” said Susan Weber, a Fort Myers resident.

It would also set limits for how much money could be paid to an ex-spouse.

Under no circumstances is it guaranteed and it just makes it much more difficult for the person seeking alimony,” Insignares said.

Republican Senator Kelli Stargel who sponsored the bill says these guidelines will create fairness for both sides.

And we’re not just talking about future divorces.

“I think there’s going to be a flood of litigations,” Insignares said.

Insignares explained the bill makes it easier to modify older cases, too.

“It’s fair to both sides if everybody can take a new look,” said Sandy Ruffalo, a divorce attorney visiting from Wisconsin.

A provision Insignares says could hurt some clients.

“Obviously if you’re a woman and you’re receiving support and you have a child that depends on that support, its going to be tough,” Insignares said.

Because every case is different–even with these parameters–a judge still makes the final decision.

The bill passed in the Florida Senate yesterday–a similar bill is pending in the house.

If it’s signed, the new laws would go into effect this July

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