Alimony and child custody are two of the most contentious subjects in many divorces. New legislation is set to make changes to alimony and child custody for both pending and settled divorces.
How might these changes affect Florida divorces?
How legislative changes could impact Florida divorces
Recently passed legislation could significantly impact thousands of settled divorces if the current administration signs the bill. The new law ends permanent alimony payments for spouses who have reached retirement age. This could result in reduced income for many older women who were the primary caregivers for children during their marriages.
The law also changes Florida’s child custody rule from an arrangement based solely on the best interest of the child to a default 50-50 custody split.
Advocates for the new law say that it reduces the impact of judges’ bias and removes the burden of paying a lifetime of alimony from divorced spouses. Critics say that it reduces the ability of judges to craft settlements based on the individual circumstances of divorcing couples.
Additionally, some critics allege that some wealthy men may use the broader custody rights granted to fathers as leverage to coerce spouses into not seeking alimony in exchange for a custody agreement.
Impact of changes on grey divorce
Because the new law eliminates alimony when the paying spouse reaches retirement age, spouses who otherwise would have alimony obligations may not pay alimony at all if the divorce occurs after retirement age.
Previous administrations vetoed similar legislation. However, proponents of the bill believe the current administration will sign the bill into law.