Florida Alimony Reform 2015: R.I.P.

By The Law Offices of Ronald H. Kauffman of Ronald H. Kauffman, P.A. posted in Alimony on Friday, May 1, 2015.

As I boldly predicted in March, the Florida House would end session early, leave while the Senate was in session, and kill the alimony reform bill. OK, I didn’t predict this at all, but what does this mean for alimony reform?

As the Palm Beach Post reports in an excellent article which I quote lengthy from:

after a year of wheeling-and-dealing by lawyers, lawmakers and others, the alimony proposal died when the Senate refused to take up the House’s version of the bill.

I’ve written about the differences between the bills before. The House proposal didn’t go as far as Senator Lee wanted. Lee said language about child sharing in the House bill was “poorly drafted” and “designed to create confusion in the courts.”

House Rules Chairman Ritch Workman accused Lee of being a “bully” and “hijacking” the bill for his own reasons.

The Family Law Section of The Florida Bar supported the alimony overhaul but strongly opposed the Senate’s 50-50 timesharing provisions, one of the reasons Scott gave for his veto of the 2013 version.

“Workman accused Lee of having a personal grudge about the issue because of Lee’s own child custody dispute.

“What he cares about is getting back at the judge that didn’t give him 50-50 time share 15 years ago or whenever he got divorced,” he said.

Lee said his views had nothing to do with his own situation.

“I actually have 50-50 custody of my children. So, nice try.”

Lee said the bill was doomed because the House left before he could work out his objections to the time-sharing guidelines.

The truth is he He killed his own bill because he made commitments to an organization [the Florida Bar Family Law Section ed.] that didn’t need a bill.”

Workman accused the Lee of “extortion”. “Don’t come back now and cry me a river over a problem that he created for himself early on in the process. Hopefully there’s a lot of learning that comes out of this,” he said.

Lee said he intends to file the bill again next year if Stargel is not involved. “If she isn’t, it will be Senate Bill 2. I will file it and if they don’t want to move it next year then we’ll move it in 2017 when he’s no longer a member of the Florida Legislature,” Lee said of Workman.

The excellent review in the Palm Beach Post is available here.