Florida Alimony Reform: A Global Perspective

On behalf of Ronald H. Kauffman, P.A. posted in Alimony on Monday, January 6, 2014.

In considering alimony reform in the US, and especially here in Florida, it is helpful to compare how alimony is awarded around the world. For instance, England has just been branded the divorce capital of the world precisely because judges there are free to award generous payments to former partners, a recent survey has shown.

The flexibility given to judges presiding over divorce proceedings in England and Wales means spouses are more likely to receive generous maintenance payments than in 13 other countries, the research finds.

The survey examined spousal maintenance payments in jurisdictions across Europe, the United States, South Africa and New Zealand. As the London Daily Mail reports:

London has gained a reputation for being the divorce capital of the world in recent years after a series of generous payouts to ex-wives. These have included:

– Ex-Beatle Sir Paul McCartney, who was ordered to pay Heather Mills £24.3m (a little over $39m) after four years of marriage

– Beverley Charman, former wife of John Charman, the insurance magnate, awarded £48m (about $79m);

– Michelle Young, former wife of Scot Young, a one-time fixer for Russian oligarchs who was recently awarded a £20m (almost $30m) lump sum after divorcing; and

– An unnamed Russian businessman, identified as M, was ordered to pay £38m (roughly $62m) to his ex-wife and transfer UK properties to her in a complex case involving tracing assets all over the world.

The survey also found:

– German courts use guidelines, which provide certainty in maintenance calculations.

– Cyprus, Germany and Switzerland, the length of time, or term, for maintenance can be strictly limited.

– France and Malta still consider as a question when considering alimony awards. In Malta, the right to alimony is forfeited if the recipient “caused the breakdown of the marriage for reasons of adultery, cruelty or grievous injury or desertion for two years or more without good cause”.

Miami is an international city, and when considering Florida’s alimony standards – and any need to change them – it is helpful to consider how our laws differ with other advanced countries.