Could permanent alimony be eliminated?

Lawmakers back bill to end permanent alimony


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Divorces can be complicated and emotional, especially when finances and alimony are involved. Florida lawmakers are backing a bill that could put an end to permanent alimony in the state.

The bill Is ready for a full vote from the House, but it has yet to be heard in the Senate.

The days of paying an ex-spouse for life could be numbered if the Florida House gets its way. Rep. Colleen Burton’s bill would effectively put an end to the permanent payments.

“This is a bill that, across our state, provides a framework that provides wherever you live in the state," Burton said. "You walk in and can ensure you’ll receive equal treatment no matter where you are.”

The bill gives judges a formula to determine limited alimony.

Tampa family law attorney Joseph Hunt said the bill would give uniformity to a complicated issue.

“We have seven family law judges in Tampa," Hunt said. "I can have the same set of fact and receive seven different outcomes for alimony. Is that fair to the people of Florida?”

Alimony is typically looked at as an ex-husband paying an ex-wife, but Tarie MacMillan said her ex lives off 65 percent of her income.

“No adult should live off another adult, is my basic feeling," MacMillan said. "I mean, once my children are 18 they’re responsible for themselves, but if you marry someone and you decide not to be married, you can be responsible for paying the rest of their lives or the rest of your life.”

Stay-at-home moms are worried the bill could cripple them.

Shelly Moxon Lehman said she was a cheated on and a victim of domestic violence before she got a divorce

“It was not good for our children to be in that, but nowadays if there’s no protection for full-time mothers, women are going to stay in those relationships, knowing they’re not going to survive,” Moxon said.

Gov. Rick Scott vetoed a 2013 bill that would have ended permanent alimony because it was retroactive.