TALLAHASSEE, FL - 3/24/2016 - (PRESS RELEASE JET) -- Florida’s alimony laws were written in the 1800’s and do not relate to today’s complexities – so, every one's having a heyday – the lawyers representing alimony payers and recipients have lots of litigation and billable hours – the judges get to “judge” what they want as the law is so vague and in some cases they completely ignore the law on the books – and the alimony recipients are cashing their alimony checks and heading to the beach.
Under Florida’s alimony law, “durational” alimony makes sense as the alimony receiver and payer have a defined termination date.
However, one of Florida’s many alimony problems is “permanent” alimony – a lifetime sentence.
And, no matter what, it better be paid – even if you lose your job, retire, or get sick.
If you stop paying alimony, no matter how legitimate your reason is for your inability to pay, you are declared to be in contempt of court and you go to jail; fair, I think not.
Under Florida’s lifetime alimony, the “ex” lives in hiding and will never remarry, because the remarriage would cause alimony payments to stop.
Also, if you pay alimony to an “ex” (the first wife) and you get remarried, your first wife is now entitled under Florida law to receive some of your new spouse’s income – as the new spouse’s income increases your ability to pay.
So, most alimony payers do what alimony receivers do – they never get remarried and simply cohabitate with someone who they would have married if it wasn't for the alimony laws in Florida.
In other words, Florida’s alimony laws are anti-marriage and anti-family.
The previously married parties whom are now divorced, never get remarried, and they never leave their marriage with dignity.
In some cases, Florida alimony laws cause the alimony payer’s entire family to work and live without disposable income – as the total family monthly income must support “their” needs – and the rest goes to the eternal “life support” that Florida judges have granted to the alimony receiver.
During the past 6 years, research has failed to uncover a single attorney or client that has won an alimony termination case – and off the record, attorneys will tell you that Florida judges will never terminate permanent alimony.
An alimony payer’s best case scenario is when permanent alimony is reduced to $1 per month (i.e. a “nominal” amount), so the alimony receiver’s case can remain open for future attacks – should the alimony receiver suspect that their alimony payer had a “change in circumstances”, such as getting a raise or coming into money.
To annoy the alimony payer, the alimony receiver can also petition for a new case at any time, claiming they have “increased needs” for more money – costing the alimony payer upwards of $5,000.00 to retain a lawyer to prepare for and represent them in court.
Consequently, alimony payers have a revolving door in and out of court to modify alimony up and down, and defending against such claims.
Alimony payers spend between $9,000.00 and $25,000.00 per year to ward off frivolous cases – and most alimony payers are in court at least once per year, as the cycle rarely, if ever ends.
Even though Florida’s alimony laws are separate from Florida’s child support laws, after divorce, lifetime alimony drives a wedge between all parties of the original family structure.
One example would be when the alimony recipient’s live-in partner pays 100% of the couple’s expenses, and the alimony recipient asks their children to hide their lifestyle from the alimony payer. So, everything is always kept secret, and the children are caught in the middle.
If the alimony payer does find out, the payer can file a motion in court and attempt to reduce alimony payments (because the needs of the alimony recipient have now decreased).
Historically, alimony recipients have almost always been women serving in the home. However, in today’s world there are a greater number of alimony payers that are women.
In one case, the wife, who is dentist, is paying her ex-husband (who has an MBA) permanent alimony in the amount of $10,000 per month.
In the above example, it is quite obvious why the ex-husband does not work and does not search for a job; for if he did, the alimony he receives might be reduced, or even stopped.
Florida law does not provide a rehabilitative plan for alimony recipients.
So, judges do not consider granting time for the alimony recipient to get off the alimony train – find a job, go back to school, or generate income of any kind.
Under Florida alimony law, there is absolutely no incentive whatsoever for an alimony recipient to do anything that would generate revenue or income of his/her own.
Recipients just become part of the welfare state, collecting their alimony checks.
Additionally, since Florida alimony law is so unclear, judges (who make about $150,000.00 annually) can do just about anything they want to alimony payers who make a lot more than the judges themselves do – even when Florida law specifically spells out what they should do.
For example, when an alimony payer filed an appeal against a trial judge’s order and won, and the case was brought back to the trial court to make a ruling in line with the appellate court’s order, the lower (trial) court judge simply ignored the appellate court’s mandate, and continued on the same path it was previously on.
You can imagine that if an attorney speaks out about a judge’s inappropriateness in any way to the Florida Bar, or speaks directly to the judge, the attorney and the attorney’s future clients are in for uphill battles.
To date, Governor Scott has been sensitive to his Republican base of women, feminists, and the Florida Bar, making sure that new legislation does not reduce their member’s alimony litigation and billable hours.
But, what about the citizen’s representation in Tallahassee – as the Florida House and Senate have already passed an alimony reform bill once before, and Governor Scott vetoed it?
Well, Governor Scott, it’s up to you, again – as young couples, alimony recipients, and alimony payers ask, WHY WOULD ANYONE GET MARRIED IN FLORIDA?
Will you sign the Alimony Reform Bill of 2016, which is sitting on your desk, to provide much needed relief for Florida families, or will you again bow to special interest groups such as the Florida Bar?
The citizens of Florida are waiting.
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