Governor Vetoes 2013 Florida Alimony and Child Custody Reform Bill

In an unexpected turn of events, Florida Governor Rick Scott has vetoed Senate Bill 718, which envisioned broad-ranging changes to Florida alimony and child custody laws.  If signed, the bill would have created a presumption in favor of 50/50 child custody, eliminated permanent alimony, and permitted (in certain circumstances) those who had already been ordered to pay alimony to seek a modification based on the new law.

Governor Scott’s veto letter reads, in part:

Because the subject matter of this bill involves family relationships, numerous Floridians have forcefully expressed their views on the topic.  Many Florida families have been impacted by the difficulties of marital issues, both concerning children and starting over.  As a husband, father and grandfather, I understand the vital importance of family.  In weighing the issues associated with this bill, however, I have concluded that I cannot support this legislation because it applies retroactively and thus tampers with the settled economic expectations of many Floridians who have experienced divorce.

The retroactive adjustment of alimony could result in unfair, unanticipated results.  Current Florida law already provides for the adjustment of alimony under proper circumstances.  The law also ensures that spouses who have sacrificed their careers to raise a family do not suffer financial catastrophe upon divorce, and that the lower earning spouse and stay-at-home parent will not be financially punished.  Floridians have relied on this system post-divorce and planned their lives accordingly.

Though this probably ends the debate for the 2013 legislative session, alimony and child custody reform will likely be a hot topic for years to come.

If you have questions about your Tampa Bay alimony matter, schedule a consultation with a Florida alimony attorney at (813) 443-0615 or fill out our contact form.

The Law Firm of Adam B. Cordover encourages the use of the interdisciplinary collaborative divorce process when handling issues of alimony and child custody.


About Adam B. Cordover, Attorney-at-Law

Family Diplomacy is dedicated to helping clients restructure their families privately and respectfully. We practice exclusively in out-of-court dispute resolution, with a focus on collaborative divorce and family law, mediation, direct negotiations, and unbundled legal services. We maintain this out-of-court practice because we strongly believe that family disputes should be resolved in a private conference room, not in a hostile and public courtroom environment. This unique perspective on family law stems back to Adam B. Cordover’s experience studying International Affairs in Washington, D.C., and abroad. Adam had the rare opportunity to work closely with ambassadors and diplomats from war-torn regions around the world. He traveled around the globe, learning from diplomatic leaders as they applied dispute resolution techniques to tackle seemingly impossible conflicts. It dawned on him: If these techniques can work in the complex world of International Relations, why not Domestic Relations and Family Law? This realization lead Adam to create an exclusively out-of-court practice and to bring a more peacemaking approach to family law. In his previous role as a litigation attorney, Adam witnessed parties experience the negative emotional and financial effects that long, drawn out divorce battles can have on families. As a result, Adam has become a strong proponent of the Collaborative Process, where a structure is put in place so that life’s hardest moments do not have to be any more difficult than necessary. A thought leader in the international collaborative law community, Adam successfully spearheaded an effort of the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit to draft an administrative order safeguarding the principles of collaborative family law (just the fourth such administrative order in Florida). Adam has been featured in or interviewed about collaborative practice by the Tampa Bay Times, Tampa Tribune, Orlando Sentinel, Miami Herald, Tampa Bay Business Journal, Florida Bar News, NBC, Fox 13, Bay News 9, ABC Action News, The World of Collaborative Practice Magazine, and Spirit FM 90.5. Adam regularly speaks at professional and civic organizations locally and internationally regarding the collaborative process. Adam B. Cordover is president of Next Generation Divorce, a 501(c)(3) and Florida’s largest interdisciplinary collaborative practice group with member attorneys, mental health professionals, and financial professionals throughout Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, Sarasota, and Manatee Counties. Adam is also on the Executive Board and co-chair of the Research Committee of the Collaborative Family Law Council of Florida. Further, Adam is a graduate of the inaugural class of the Leadership Academy of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals. You can learn more about us and our services at Attorney Adam B. Cordover is admitted to the Florida Bar and the United States District Court, Middle District of Florida. His office is located at 412 East Madison Street, Suite 824, Tampa, Florida 33602.
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6 Responses to Governor Vetoes 2013 Florida Alimony and Child Custody Reform Bill

  1. Pingback: Florida Alimony Reform: How Long is a “Long-Term” Marriage? | ABC Family Law Blog

  2. Pingback: Florida Alimony Reform: Supportive Relationships | ABC Family Law Blog

  3. Pingback: Florida Child Custody Reform 2013 | ABC Family Law Blog

  4. Pingback: Update: Florida House Debates Alimony Reform Bill | ABC Family Law Blog

  5. Jim McCarthy says:

    My biggest complaint about the current situation is that I have been paying $72,000 per year of permanent alimony for over 10 years and I am getting near retirement time. Under the rules as written I must first retire and then petition the court for a hearing, so how does one plan for retirement, this to me is very unfair. Also I am getting remarried to someone who is retired and she is concerned that her assets could come into play for alimony. Additionally 92% of my settlement was my 401K which could now be used for alimony, talk about double dipping. So i have no duration, I have no means of effectively planning for retirement and I have a new spouse whose assets are not necessarily protected.

  6. Pingback: Modifying Florida Alimony | ABC Family Law Blog

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