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More changes coming for Florida alimony law?

Some legislators aren't done with the remake of Florida's family law that took place last year.

Lawmakers are proposing to further ease spousal support requirements on those who have to pay alimony.

"We want to do things equitably and fairly," said Rep. Kelli Stargel.

She said she knows men who have been ordered to pay so much in alimony that they're unable "to live their lives." Some told her that they would be better off financially if they simply stopped working.

Stargel is pushing a proposal that would stop the state's courts from automatically awarding permanent alimony when there's a divorce after a long marriage. The bill's advocates say it would also include safeguards to prevent the person paying alimony from becoming worse off financially that the person on the receiving end of spousal support.

Late last week, the House Civil Justice Subcommittee voted unanimously to approve Stargel's proposal protecting those who pay alimony.

A similar bill is in the Senate, but has not yet been voted on.

A 56-year-old man interviewed for an article on the bill said it needs to go further in remaking Florida law. He was divorced in 2007 following 27 years of marriage. He said he was ordered by a court to pay $2,000 a month in permanent alimony from his $66,000 per year salary.

He claims his ex-wife worked throughout their marriage, only to quit her job during their divorce.

Another divorced man said the proposed legislation "will stop the easy payoff, this easy money these women are getting."

He claims he pays $700 per month out of a yearly income of $17,000.

When courts award spousal support, they consider income, the couple's marriage lifestyle, the length of their marriage, their ages and health conditions, the contributions the two parties made to the marriage, assets and other factors.

Resource: Tampa Tribune: "Florida lawmakers consider easing alimony requirements" by Elaine Silvestrini: April 4, 2011

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