Florida Alimony & Timesharing Reform Update

By The Law Offices of Ronald H. Kauffman of Ronald H. Kauffman, P.A. posted in Timesharing/Visitation on Thursday, March 31, 2016.

It’s a nail biter. The Legislature’s alimony and timesharing reform bill has not been sent to the Governor yet. Once the Governor receives it, he will have 15 days to veto it.

I’ve been following Florida’s alimony and timesharing reform movement for a while. The Florida Bar Family Law Section has been lobbying the Governor and his staff, and trying to get as much press as possible, highlighting the problems with a premise of a 50/50 timesharing.

As USA Today reports, the legislation could have major impacts positive and negative on alimony, child-support payments and time-sharing of children.

The proposal sets out a formula for judges to use when deciding alimony payments, and is without a retroactivity provision. The retroactivity provision in the last bill moved the governor to veto the alimony reform bill in 2013.

The bill, which would take effect October 1st, would set guidelines for judges to set alimony based on the duration of marriages and the incomes of the parties. If a judge deviates from the guidelines they would have to explain why in writing.

The bill replaces permanent alimony with new formulas based on the length of the marriage and the spouses’ incomes. Those formulas help set the amount and duration of the payments.

It also advises judges to implement equal time-sharing of children between parents. The new provision to timesharing states:

In establishing a parenting plan and time-sharing schedule, the court shall begin with the premise that a minor child should spend approximately equal amounts of time with each parent. Using this premise as a starting point, the court shall formulate a parenting plan and time-sharing schedule taking into account the best interest of the child after considering all of the relevant factors in subsection (3). It is the public policy of this state that each minor child has frequent and continuing contact with both parents after the parents separate or the marriage of the parties is dissolved and to encourage parents to share the rights and responsibilities, and joys, of childrearing. There is no presumption for or against the father or mother of the child or for or against any specific time-sharing schedule when creating or modifying the parenting plan of the child.

The USA Today article is here.