Alimony Reform and Fathers' Rights

There is a new law on the horizon that could level the legal playing field for fathers in Florida. State lawmakers have brought fathers’ rights closer to equality by passing SB 1248, a bill that revamps alimony and shared parenting time arrangements. Here are the top five things you need to know about the proposed shared parenting and alimony reforms coming to the Sunshine State.

1. The End of Endless Alimony

The new law will remove continuous alimony as the standard and allow judges to use various individualized factors, such as income, age,  and health, to determine how long alimony should last. Many analyst believe that "endless" alimony may still be set in some instances, but will be an unlikely outcome for most divorce cases.

2. Alimony Amounts Get Capped

The mere act of getting married will no longer equate to a lifetime of paying child support. If the bill becomes a state law, alimony will be based on a ranged formula that factors in how long the marriage lasted. In this case, the magic number is 20. For marriages that lasted less than 20 years, alimony is based on a lower percentage of approximately .015 times the number of matrimonial years and the difference between each parties' monthly incomes. For marriages that lasted 20 years and longer, alimony is based on .020 for the total number of married years and the difference between each parties' monthly incomes. 

3. Alimony Modifications Become More Accessible

Obtaining effective legal counsel during divorce and custody cases is so important because after a court makes a decision, it can be very difficult to get a different judgment or modification once the court has ruled on a case. The new law will open the door for parties to head back to court when circumstancial changes affect an original alimony decision. So, if you find yourself making less money a few months after being ordered to pay a specific amount of alimony, it will be a lot easier to make a case for paying less in Florida courts.

4. Add Child Support to that Calculation

Courts will also factor child support into the fray when determining alimony amounts. The bill passing into law will mean combined obligations cannot exceed 55 percent of the payor's income. Many single fathers in Florida feel the financial sting of excessive child support payments that often leave them unable to pay their own bills. The new law would provide a legal buffer allowing dads to provide financial support to their children while keeping a roof over their own heads.

5. Breaks Limitations of Parenting Time

Florida’s traditional legal statutes for parenting time were based on a 50/50 standard rule, giving each parent theoretical equal access to their children. Except, this rule overwhelmingly favored custodial parents -- typically mothers -- and left dads with a lot less than equal time to spend with their kids. The new bill proposes that the 50/50 rule remain in place, yet gives the court more room to extend more time to parents. In other words, “equal” parenting time will, in fact, become actually equal (or a lot closer to it than before).

Men that are seeking strong legal representation to protect their familial rights should contact Kenny Leigh and Associates. Get in touch with us and make sure your case gets a strong advantage from the forthcoming laws.

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