Lawmakers debate changes to Florida alimony law


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Sweeping changes to the state’s alimony law could be coming after the state Senate gave tentative approval Thursday to legislation ending permanent awards.

Gov. Rick Scott isn’t tipping his hand about whether he will veto the legislation, but he said his decisions are formed on his life’s experiences -- he will celebrate his 44th wedding anniversary next month.

The debate centers on whether kids should spend equal time with divorcing parents.

"If I’m getting a divorce, then the parenting plan will be 50/50 up front, is that correct?" asked Sen. Greg Evers.

"That just means that when you walk in the door, before all the attorneys are involved, before you stated your case, there is a premise that you are going to have equal share time with your child," said Sen. Keli Stargel.

Under the legislation, a 10 percent change in income would allow a side to go back to court. Stargel said that’s already happening.

"There have been people who have been taken back to court for what one deemed substantial when it was 8 percent, or 7 percent, or whatever," Stargel said. "We’re putting a threshold at 10."

"You know, I’m just wondering down the road what this is going to do to children," Evers said.

Scott vetoed an alimony reform bill in 2013 because it was retroactive.

The League of Women Voters has launched an email campaign calling for a study. The National Organization for Women is calling for another veto.

"Ninety-seven percent of the people paying alimony are men," said Barbara DeVane of NOW. "They will flood the courts with what they call 'modification.'"

Scott has said only that he will review what lawmakers send him.