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State senator, reform group seek Florida alimony changes

Kelli Stargel, former Florida House of Representatives member and newly elected state Senator (R-Lakeland), has alimony on her mind and, with backing from the grassroots advocacy group Florida Alimony Reform, says she will soon introduce legislation aimed at eliminating the state's provision for permanent alimony.

Alimony reform is underway and has been a central topic in legislatures across the country for the past several years, with critics saying that the laws in many states are anachronistic and unfair, applying more to bygone days than being a reflection of current economic and social realities.

The advocacy group Florida Alimony Reform, which touts itself as "the official site for alimony reform in the state of Florida," calls current law "unfair," despite several statutory changes in recent years. The group objects above all to judges' discretion to impose permanent alimony that lasts a lifetime for a payer. The reform movement has not cited strong criticisms with the other types of alimony awarded under Florida law following divorce, namely bridge-the-gap, rehabilitative and durational.

Stargel says she also favors reforming alimony payment provisions, most centrally transitioning away from permanent to durational payments, which she would like to see based on a formula averaging incomes for both divorcing spouses.

Stargel also favors lowering payments for persons entering their retirement years, if retirement results in a reduction of income. That is an often-stated concern of alimony reform advocates across the country.

"We are working for a system that is fair to everyone," says Stargel, while noting that "the issue is controversial and emotional."

Source: The Ledger, "Stargel to file alimony reform bill," Bill Rufty, Jan. 9, 2013

  • Florida divorce often entails multiple considerations, ranging from child custody and support to property division and alimony. For further information, please visit our Miami, Florida, Divorce page.

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