Despite a New "Supportive Relationship", Courts Often Won't Sever Alimony Ties, Forcing Ex-Spouses to Keep Paying Forever
TAVARAS, Fla., Jan. 15, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Following a divorce, the court bases alimony on the circumstances of the spouses at the time they go their separate ways. However, it is not unusual for circumstances to change months, or even years after the dissolution of a marriage. Ex-spouses often find new love. However, many refuse to tie the knot a second time because, if they do, permanent alimony can come to an end, states Florida Alimony Reform.
That was the case for Eric Pearson who learned that the woman he was married to for 17 years had moved on after their divorce and that her boyfriend had moved in with her. Despite the fact that Mr. Pearson proved to the court that his ex-wife was in a supportive relationship -- and that her boyfriend's financial support was actually greater than the support he had provided -- the court refused to terminate Eric Pearson's obligation to pay alimony. Eric Pearson's wife was 38 years old at the time of their divorce.
"In cases where alimony is considered, the amount granted is generally determined by balancing the dependent spouse's needs with the supporting spouse's ability to pay, in light of the standard of living enjoyed during the most recent years of the marriage," said Debbie Leff Israel, founder of the Second Wives Club, a subgroup of Florida Alimony Reform, a grassroots organization seeking changes to the state's outdated alimony laws.
Although Florida lawmakers previously enacted laws to address the supportive relationship by allowing for modification, the changes made simply don't go far enough. Often ex-spouses find themselves financially tied to each other until death do they part. Eric Pearson's situation, and the many others like his, illustrate the need for additional alimony reform.
That's why Florida Alimony Reform is seeking the following changes to existing laws:
- Removal of permanent alimony from current statutes
- The need for alimony payers to have the right to retire at Federal Retirement Age or standard retirement age for high risk professions
- A defined amount on a formula that is fair, and that averages income for both spouses
- Second spouses' income shall not be used to calculate an upward modification of alimony
- The right to modify a current judgment
- Make the law retroactive so that those saddled with alimony payments can get payments modified to comply with the new law
- Alimony payment for mid-term and long-term marriages should be set at 50 percent the length of the marriage as the default duration
During the upcoming Florida legislative session two bills will be introduced: One by Rep. Ritch Workman (R-Melbourne) and the other by Sen. Kelli Stargel (R-Lakeland) seeking to reform the state's existing laws.
"FAR will continue to work with our bill sponsors, legislators, and will welcome a productive working relationship with the leaders of the Family Section of the Florida Bar in an effort to reach a mutually agreed upon reformation of current alimony law," said Alan Frisher, FAR co-director and spokesman.
Founded in 2010, Florida Alimony Reform was created to change the state's antiquated alimony laws. Based in Tavaras, Fla., FAR represents more than 2,500 families across the state.
The Florida Alimony Reform logo is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=11350