In April, the Florida Senate voted in favor of Senate Bill 718, better known as the alimony reform bill.  This bill would greatly affect the current alimony laws in the state by altering time tables for alimony and ending permanent alimony, as well. 

Permanent alimony was instituted years ago when the husband worked and the wife stayed home to raise the children.  Today in the majority of marriages, both spouses work and therefore should a divorce occur, both spouses have means of support other than alimony.

Although the bill would ban permanent alimony, it would keep intact three types of alimony: bridge-the-gap, rehabilitative and durational alimony.

Unfortunately for supporters of alimony reform, Florida Governor Rick Scott vetoed Senate Bill 718 last month.  Governor Scott stated he couldn’t support the bill because it applies retroactively.

“As a husband, father and grandfather, I understand the vital importance of family. I have concluded that I cannot support this legislation because it applies retroactively and thus tampers with settled economic expectations of many Floridians who have experienced divorce,” said Governor Scott.

Family Law Reform, a group that supported the bill, expressed its disappointment with the veto and said the group was “exploring all options.”

Those against passage of the bill heralded Governor Scott’s veto.  Carrin Porras, an attorney and Chair of the Family Law Section of the Florida Bar, issued a statement thanking the governor for his “courage and willingness to stand up for the best interest of Floridians.”  He also said the bill would have “discouraged parents from staying at home to raise their children by creating a serious risk that if they stayed home and later got divorce, the chances of receiving support would be very slim.”