ALIMONY AND PARENTING PLAN REFORMS – PROPOSED

As of April 4, 2016 there is legislation on the desk of Governor Rick Scott which would significantly amend the law as it relates to alimony and timesharing (visitation) schedules found in Parenting Plans as required by Chapter 61 of the Florida Statutes. The bill would make 2 major revisions to current law (while there are other minor changes): First, alimony would be calculated by the court by utilizing a mathematical formula to calculate “low end alimony” and “high end alimony” rather than relying on the previous law that focused on 4 types of alimony and 3 categories of length of marriages; Second, courts would now start with the premise that children should spend equal time with parents – in other words, the court would still need to determine the best interest of the child but now start from the equal time sharing premise rather than no premise at all.

Stay tuned for an update on this legislation. Governor Scott has 15 days to address this legislation. If he either signs and approves the legislation or fails to veto the legislation then it becomes law on October 1, 2016. If he signs a veto then the legislation it will be readdressed by the Legislature. He signed a veto for similar legislation in recent years but some would say that the issues Governor Scott had with previous legislation have been addressed or corrected by the current legislation as it relates to the alimony legislation. It remains to be seen what his position is on the timesharing.

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