Move to Modernize Law Would End Permanent Alimony in Florida
A proposal to end permanent alimony in Florida is moving in the Florida Legislature. The House Judiciary Committee today passed CS/HB 1559, sponsored by State Rep. Anthony Rodriguez, of Miami. Under the bill, Florida would become the 45th state to prohibit the award of perpetual alimony. Companion legislation (CS/SB 1922) is sponsored by State Sen. Joe Gruters, of Sarasota.
“This legislation is supported by real people whose lives have been destroyed by this antiquated law,” Rep. Rodriguez told committee members. “It’s time to retire Florida’s antiquated alimony policies to reflect our modern reality. Both women and men work hard to provide for their families, with some women as the family’s main bread winner.”
On calling for the modernization of the state’s alimony laws, the bill’s sponsors note how Florida has become a leading state for providing increased economic opportunity.
For example, data for 2019 from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics showed Florida’s women’s-to-men’s earnings ratio stood at 85.1 percent, higher than the nationwide ratio of 81.5 percent.
This has happened as more women have become the primary wage earner in American households. The Women’s Bureau of the U.S. Department of Labor Women in 2017 noted how the percent of households with children under 18 in which mothers are equal, primary, or sole earners grew to 40.4 percent in 2017 from 15.6 percent in 1970.
“Support for a child ends at 18. It doesn’t make any sense to me. Why would I support an adult who can fend for himself for his entire life? Supporting children until they are 18 is a reasonable mandate. But an adult being supported is not,” said Sonia Delgado, a Marion County teacher who pays permanent alimony to her ex-husband. “The law of justice must really work to create a balanced level of compassion for both ex-spouses after a divorce. I feel like it’s very convenient to be compassionate with someone else’s money.”
Delgado and numerous other speakers traveled to Tallahassee and testified in support of the bill.