Second alimony reform bill filed

Florida Senator Kelli Stargel has joined her legislative colleague Representative Colleen Burton in filing a bill designed to change the state’s alimony laws.

As I wrote on Tuesday, Burton’s bill (HB 943) goes a long way toward changing the current system, while at the same time appeasing those who have been against reform by being more fair and balanced.

Stargel, who sponsored the failed alimony bill during the 2013 legislative session, has included in her newest bill (SB 1248) a provision that creates a presumption that approximately equal time-sharing by both parents is in the best interest of the child. It also revises a finite list of factors that a court must evaluate when determining whether the presumption of approximately equal time-sharing is overcome.

The bill requires that a court order must be supported by written findings of fact if that order establishes an initial permanent time-sharing schedule that does not provide for approximately equal time-sharing.

Read more: Second alimony reform bill filed

Florida lawmaker files alimony reform legislation

alimonyFlorida Representative Colleen Burton has fired the first salvo in this year’s attempts to change the state’s alimony laws. In filing HB 943 on Monday, the Lakeland Republican will be working with Republican Senator Kelli Stargel toward passage of this year’s alimony reform legislation.

The bill goes a long way toward changing the current system, while at the same time works to appease those who have been against reform by being more fair and balanced.

 

The bill calls for the following:

  • Specifies that courts may not use certain presumptive alimony guidelines in calculating alimony pending litigation (temporary alimony).
  • Eliminates permanent alimony and provides for determination of presumptive alimony range and duration range.
  • Provides presumptions concerning amount and length of alimony awards depending on duration of marriages.
  • Provides for imputation of income in certain circumstances.
  • Specifies that combined award of alimony and child support may not constitute more than a specified percentage of a payor's net income.
  • Provides that a party may pursue immediate modification of alimony in certain circumstances.
  • Revises factors to be considered in determining whether an existing alimony award should be reduced or terminated because of an alleged supportive relationship, including eliminating proof of cohabitation.
  • Allows payors to retire and requires courts to modify or terminate alimony at retirement age.
  • Specifies factors to be considered in determining whether to modify or terminate an award based on substantial change in circumstance.
  • Provides for motions to advance trial of certain if specified period has passed since initial service on respondent.

 

The legislation works to create increased predictability and certainty and goes a long way to prevent attempts to “game the system.” For example, the cohabitation language in this bill is a lot clearer. It essentially says the alimony payor no longer has to prove that his or her spouse is in a cohabitation arrangement. This is important for many spouses who have continued to pay alimony to their ex-spouse, even though he or she is in a supportive relationship.

Read more: Florida lawmaker files alimony reform legislation

What same-sex couples need to consider before tying the knot

After Florida legalized same-sex marriage, some people rushed to the alter, while others are still busy planning their nuptials. For those who have not yet tied the knot, there are many things you need take into consideration -- financial and legal.

Recently, I was interviewed for an article in the South Florida Gay News that addresses those issues. First and foremost, same-sex couples should find someone with whom they are comfortable to handle their financial and legal questions.

There are many issues to be considered including estate planning, benefits and children. Click here to read the entire article.

Who gets the family business after a divorce?

An estimated 3.7 million businesses in the U.S. are jointly owned by a husband and wife, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. But what happens to those businesses after a couple divorces?

That depends on a number of factors, including the type of business and how much one spouse is involved compared to the other. Lori Barkus recently addressed some of the things couples in business together should consider in an article for MainStreet.com.

Click here to read the article.

 

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