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Permanent alimony continues to be a hot-button topic in Florida

This is the second blog post within a relatively recent period to address permanent alimony following divorce in Florida (please see our post dated January 13, 2012). The reason for that: Permanent alimony is a decidedly "hot" topic in the distinct minority of states that continue to have such a law on their books, and it is an especially lively topic in Florida.

In fact, modification to the law could take place in Florida as early as this year, with legislation slated to go to a vote in the state legislature sometime mid-year.

We have previously mentioned the group Florida Alimony Reform, a statewide organization with broad grassroots support that says that it now has more than 2,000 members and is steadily growing. The group is stridently against the notion of permanent alimony, with many of its members being disgruntled members of the club who voice strong reasons for eliminating the practice.

One of those members is Debbie Israel, a divorced math teacher from Miami. She says that, although she loves her fiancé, she is putting her second marriage on hold until new alimony legislation is enacted.

Her reasoning works two ways. On the one hand, she fears that, unless things change, she could end up being part of a marital team that pays out forever to a former spouse. On the other hand, she is philosophically opposed to the practice even as a recipient in that it renders a person "attached to an unhealthy relationship for the rest of your life."

Alan Frisher, a Florida attorney who heads Florida Alimony Reform, says that permanent alimony is economically inefficient for society. He contends that it dulls both the desire for a payer to work harder (given that a recipient can go into court and seek a modification to collect more based on increased income) and for a payee to work hard or at all.

Even strong critics, though, tend to agree that permanent alimony makes sense in some cases, such as when a former spouse has a disability that precludes working.

Source: U.S. News & World Report, "Taking the 'permanent' out of permanent alimony," Geoff Williams, Jan. 23, 2013

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