WUFT News

Florida bill modernizes divorce through capped alimony, equal custody

By on April 23rd, 2013

Florida divorce laws may undergo major changes regarding alimony, child support and child custody now that lawmakers have passed Senate Bill 718.

The proposed bill will put a cap on the amount of alimony, or ex-spousal payment, someone can receive based on the length of the marriage and the ex-spouse’s income.

“It starts to put the onus on people who are considering getting married and having a family,” said lawyer William Falik.

According to Falik, the bill requires people to ensure that they are, or can be, financially independent, since they can no longer rely on alimony as supplemental income. The provisions make alimony limited and temporary.

The bill also allows current alimony payers to return to court to renegotiate their alimony agreements.

Attorney Jean Westin said she believes many people will take advantage of this opportunity. She said some of her clients are terrified and others are ecstatic.

“I had a client once who phrased alimony as ‘forever having to say you’re sorry,’” said Westin. “Now we know you only have to say it for a certain amount of time.”

Another part of the bill changes the way courts approach child custody. It states that equal time-sharing of a minor is in the child’s best interest.

“Rather than one parent maintaining the lifestyle for the benefit of the children, both parents are going to have to change,” Falik said. “It’s going to put the parents on more equal footing and it’s going to be an interesting change for the children.”

Gov. Rick Scott may chose to sign the bill, veto the bill or let it go into law without his signature. Provisions will go into effect July 1.


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  • gail b.c.

    I encourage all female and Male University students to let Governor Scott know that you support this bill. It is Gender neutral and will encourage divorced spouses to share in the care of their children on an equal basis. It encourages women to work towards independence from male financial support. Do we need men to support us financially for the rest of our lives or have we come this far to stand up and say that we are not “helpless housewives” anymore. If this law does not change it is the younger generation who will be paying lifetime Alimony to their ex spouses. Protect yourselves!

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Katie-Stanton/100000878949102 Katie Stanton

      You apparently don’t have a clue about the lack of compensation for women’s contributions, sacrifices and opportunity costs. How is it “equal” to ignore this? Nonsense! This is a horrible bill designs to harm primary caretakers and reward cheaters, losers, abusers and molesters.

      • Brandy

        Better brush up on your sandwich making skills then.

  • karen

    Please sign the bill. It is so important to let divorce between two people end their marriage and let BOTH lives begin!! Its been too one sided for too long! Please help those that have been sentenced to life without committing a crime.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mollydismuke Molly Dismuke

    I SUPPORT SB718/HB231

    I’m not going to give you a sob story…lots of people (on both sides)
    have one of those. This is about what is right and wrong.

    The
    opposition keeps trying to tell everyone this is “anti-woman”. This
    bill is NOT anti-woman. What I find to be anti-woman is hearing that a
    woman cannot make her own way in this world without the financial
    support of a man. Way to set the Women’s Movement back 50 years. If a
    couple is married for 12 years, the obligee is entitled to SIX YEARS of
    alimony…as well as child support, if eligible!! Are you really to
    believe that someone cannot begin earning money and supporting
    themselves in six years? And there is even room for judiciary
    discretion in cases with special circumstances!

    Divorce is hard on everyone…women, men, and children. The best way
    for people to be able to move on and heal is to have closure. This bill
    provides that. It is not ongoing obligation to someone who either
    chooses not to work or refuses to make lifestyle adjustments.

    Please do the right thing. Support FAMILIES.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Katie-Stanton/100000878949102 Katie Stanton

      More of the anti-woman NEUTRALIST ideology that completing disregards childcare, time off of paid work, and support of a partner so that they can earn. You should be ashamed of your inability to value anything other than what a man traditionally does.

      • Brandy

        If you didn’t want the responsibilities of raising children don’t get pregnant or go have an abortion.

      • Terry

        Amen!

  • http://www.facebook.com/jones.maryxyz Mary Jones

    There are many sides to this story. This bill needs to be studied for its impact before it become a law.

    • I vehemently oppose this bill!

      I couldn’t agree more. My story is not unique and there are just as many opposing stories for and against. If this bill does pass, I just hope they allow a judge the latitude to interpret the facts before them and make a fair judgement pertaining to alimony. There are some low life’s out here, unfortunately, I’m dealing with 1. On the other hand, there are people who take advantage who make it harder for people like me or who have devious motives. Like everything in life, sometimes, there are special circumstances and they should be judged accordingly in a court of law and not by some sweeping bill.

      • KIki

        I agree, and that’s why the judge makes decisions based on the facts and circumstances of each case. Please sign the petition and have your friends sign it if u haven’t already. Good luck

    • M1CH4EL

      The bill has been studied, just not to your arbitrary level of satisfaction. Moreover, bills like it have been in the works and poured over for years. After studying it for however long you deem appropriate, it is extremely likely we would be right back where we are: 75% of people supporting it, 25% against it. In all things political, having 75% in favor on anything is pretty amazing. Even in Florida’s congress, both chambers passed the bill with 73% voting in favor. It only takes 67% to override a veto.

  • I vehemently oppose this bill!

    I oppose this bill. Amidst an ugly divorce myself, with 3 minor children, I believe many people are forgetting about the perspective of a hard working woman, myself, verbally struggling and fighting with a self-righteous, stingy, pompous, arrogant man who doesn’t give 2 flips about his own kids and only his well being while he lives “high in the hog” with whom he chooses and always has. No sob story here, just the facts: 1. Today, I’m busting my a** daily AT WORK to make ends meet from a 23+, mutually agreed upon, stay at home Mom status 2. My life was put “in the back seat” to take care of “our” family and support his career 3. He now has close to zero interest and contact with his kids as he resides in the same city. 4. His absence is felt socially, economically and daily with the kids. 5. I’m in my mid 40′s with no career, no future financial stability (retirement) and nothing to show for the past 23+ years as I dedicated my life and support to my husband. But his 401k looks GREAT along with any other retirement plans (assets) compared to mine (zilch, nothing). So no, I will never support this bill as I’m sure there are many other women in the same predicament I am in. God help us. We can “prove” in court we paid hour lifetime dues, now what about him?? And by the way, to deal with a dead beat Father and become a single Mom, is no cup of tea either, for any woman in my shoes. I will NEVER see the “fairness” in my life or this bill. My by-passed youth, the family vacations we never had – not 1 (but he still took his without his family), and much more I gave up in the spirit of “our” family. But, he will have the opportunity to further embrace his golden years while mine are already tarnished.

    • Ruby2008

      Why would you want to remain forever dependent on someone you hate?

      • I vehemently oppose this bill!

        Why should I “retire” a hair above being destitute and he’s quite comfortable?

        • Brandy

          It’s called life sweetheart. Who would you blame if he died before he dumped and replaced you? You just want someone to pay for the life you THINK you deserve. Not how it works.

        • Brandy

          Why should he pay for your retirement when you aren’t earning it? He cut the dead weight out of his life. He should also be able to cut the financial umbilical cord from you as well.

    • Debbie

      You’re absolutely right! And, in your situation despicable! Similar situation here, although the marriage not as long, but for 15 years I was his private secretary and nurse. Got him through 6 surgeries and helped save his life. Now that he’s in decent health, he finds a girlfriend, flaunts her around town, spending tons of money and our mediator told me to go get a job with benefits. I’m 62 years old and haven’t worked in 15 years. Told me to go “flip burgers”. I gave up my career and home for him and now I’m about to be homeless, while he continues to live the life of “the big shot”!!! Where is the justice?? My previous faith in our country’s legal system is gone and so is the rest of my life.

      • fl207rn

        So you were married for 15 years and expect him to pay for the next 30 years. What a crock. If you were able to nurse him after surgeries and be his secretary you could get your Certified Nursing Assistant Certificate or Secretarial degree and get a job really quickly. You would feel better about yourself.

        • Brandy

          Sounds like these women are gold diggers looking to make a guy pay for not wanting her for life.

          • Debbie

            Let’s hear your story……never married?

        • Debbie

          In 30 years I’d be 92 for goodness sake. I’m looking for assistance until I can stand on my own two feet again! When a women stops working to support her husband she deserves to be compensated for the time she gave up her career to support him in his career. His income has been enhanced, the wife’s income in zero.

    • M1CH4EL

      There’s great news for you, Vehemently! The new law will give you half of all the assets you helped your spouse acquire. You’ll get half of his 401k, half of your bank accounts, and half of everything else that has significant value. Plus, with 23 years of marriage, the new law will give you 11.5 years of alimony at 38% of your spouse’s *gross* income! On top of that, your spouse will have to pay child support for your kids. You could walk away with a LOT of money and a great start on a new, happier life…as long as you don’t waste it by fighting in court.

      That’s one of the great things about the new law: you don’t have to drain your family’s assets by fighting in court because it spells things out much more clearly than the old law; that means there will be tens of thousands (possibly hundreds of thousands) of dollars *more* left over for you and your kids (instead of in a lawyer’s bank account).

      It sounds like your soon-to-be ex is a jerk. I feel badly that you had to put up with him. I am optimistic, though, that you’ll enjoy life much more without him. Good luck!

      • fl2007rn

        I agree!!! All these women crying about permanent alimony. What would they have done if their husbands died and left them a bunch of little kids to raise? They expect a gravy train the rest of their lives. They don’t understand that their best revenge to the ex is to go back to school and get a great job and move on with their lives. Plus, they could get remarried one day and be in the happy marriage they always wanted.

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Katie-Stanton/100000878949102 Katie Stanton

          Comparison report for you of widows with young children vs divorced women with young children . FYI the widows are better off. http://www.socialsecurity.gov/policy/docs/ssb/v38n5/v38n5p3.pdf

          • M1CH4EL

            Katie, I hope you’re not suggesting women arrange for the demise of their husbands.

            A report from 1975 underwhelms me. Such old data fail to match today’s realities. Consider two *major* shifts: college attendance and stay-at-home spouses. In 1970, men comprised 60% of university students. Since then, the proportion of men attending college has decreased, so by 2009, women comprised 56%. Moreover, in 1969, 44% of women were stay-at-home moms. By 2009, the percent of stay-at-home moms had decreased to 26%. The speed and magnitude of those cultural shifts is mind-blowing.

            It won’t be long before women obliterate the glass ceiling. If the law stays as is, the proportion of women paying men alimony will soon be greater than the reverse. Women: Plan ahead. Support SB718. Sign the petition at http://ht.ly/k2F6O.

      • I vehemently oppose this bill!

        Thanks for your encouraging words M1CH4EL, I do appreciate it. Thanks for pointing out the new aspects of the law as well and I will take that into consideration, especially since its on the verge of becoming a law anyways. My words and feelings are from my daily challenges with no time or life of my own and no other parent to temporarily relieve me of my duties to catch even the smallest of breaks. As he wiggles his toes on 1 of Florida’s beautiful beaches each weekend, it’s a stark contrast to my life, today. With my current stress, I pray to be alive to see retirement, or not become a disabled resident in some retirement home or wheel chair bound. So, of course I would feel better knowing my future is secured, assuming I make it there. The fact he would have to pay for the rest of his life, will give me back some of my missed beach opportunities or maybe the check I need to ensure the roof over my head or the food in my mouth. I am paying now though, dearly. My thoughts, why shouldn’t he? But you are right, at least I will, in theory, have a fresh start. But he’s also trying to “hide” his money, bank accounts, assets, investment funds, etc. Told you, I’m dealing with the Mother of all A-holes, simply because we, his family and I became burdens and he wanted out to lead a care free life, bottom line.

        • Brandy

          Sounds like you begrudge your ex for moving on without you and you want him to pay you because you have to work hard without him. Not very hard to see why he chose a life away from you. Where is your accountability in all of this? You picked the wrong guy but you feel you should be compensated for your failed decisions in mate selection? Frankly, I don’t feel bad for you and I hope your ex finds happiness without you.

          • lm

            like obama care of 2000 pages unread by the politicians in DC , then passed it . our healthcare system is now in the hand of insurance companies and not the health care professionals . the alimony bill in its current form appeases the 2nd wives club, emboldens the cheaters , and the crooks . the litigators will always find a loophole to get around this bill , and will continue to file baseless motions and counter motions at 300 /hr rate .if passed , they will flood the courts with past divorce settlements that can be descended. they are the true winners .this law will be found unconstitutional , but it will take years to undo the damage .the previous law needed an overhaul , but its gone too far with the pendulum swung too far to the right. any society that chooses to debase the institution of marriage is in for a rude awakening. i will go to jail before giving up my children 50/50 visitation to a selfish, deviant jerk ,just so he can save a few dollars of child support payments .

    • fl2007rn

      You can get 11 1/2 years of alimony and half of all the assets and a good portion of his retirement with the proposed bill. I myself went back to school and got my Registered Nurse Degree at 43 years of age. Are you not able to go back to school or are you disabled? If you are disabled then you can get disability on top of your alimony. What is your beef?

      • I vehemently oppose this bill!

        My beef is, I sacrificed all of my adult life for this jerk while after he retires, he has a walk in the park and I will be in struggle mode, still picking up the pieces he so lovingly administered (I’m being facetious) for over 23+ years of marriage. That’s a heck of a bombshell to deal with or to start making future plans for. Glad you got your RN degree, as I was working on my BA degree as well. I’m 2 classes away and 44 years old. I supported him thru his BA and Masters. But thanks to my new responsibilities and only 24 hours in a day, school and tuition didn’t make the priority list just my Christmas list. I’m no dead beat looking for a free ride, just looking for a return in my investment.

        • Brandy

          Who made you sacrifice anything? You made personal choices and choices that did not work out for you. Life’s unfair. Move on and let it go. And newsflash, you get no guaranteed return in any investment. Deal with it Queen Bitter.

      • KIKI

        Yes lets Judge her and all alimony recipients based on your life and your views. What is the marital contribution worth to society, obviously nothing while you stand on your soap box and are the martyr for all.

        VETO

  • I vehemently oppose this bill!

    PS. And before someone says I can start stock piling on my 401k too with ample time in my life to acquire one, that’s BS. 10% out of my pay?? Assuming company match – NOT… If I take out 1 penny more than I have to for any portion of “my” retirement, that’s food, clothes and other essentials out of my kids mouths and lives. So no, I don’t have the moral right to take care of my retirement while denying my own kids their necessities of life. Welcome to my world and many other women, others insist to dictate and label what’s fair or not. And my situation is far more prevalent and reoccurring than you are aware of. I don’t see or read too many men in this predicament either. And I am a fan of equally, but a “helpless housewife” I am not and never was. I contributed any money I ever made over the years, to my children’s needs, not my retirement.

    • Second to no one

      We all bust

      • Second to no one

        I hope your message to your children is to be self-reliant. I support fairness and equality for men and women. Please Governor sign the bill to pave the way for our sons and daughters.

        • I vehemently oppose this bill!

          Self-reliance is what my family and I as a whole or unit, have become. But instead of my message to my children, what’s the message from the abandoning parent? Get yours and run?? This bill just makes running a bit more worth it in the end.

          • Brandy

            Nothing like taking from others who earn more than us, right? You deserved to be left behind.

    • Brandy

      You sound like a real cry baby. Have you figured out why your ex has a new woman yet? Look in the mirror!

    • LG

      Now you understand how life is for MOST people. They work their butts off just to survive, and nobody hands them anything. I have no savings or retirement, neither does my partner…his wife got half of what he DID have, and he used the rest to pay his and her attorneys fees, over 150,000.00. Now he works like a dog to support her, and I work like a dog to support US, but that’s Florida alimony laws for you. Welcome to the real world.

  • Ruby2008

    I begin
    by saying that no one who marries and plans out a family expects to
    divorce. But when it happens, why is it
    a fair law to allow people to remain financially dependent on another for
    life? Isn’t it fair to expect anyone to
    eventually become self-sufficient? The lawmakers
    do not seem to think so. Yet the law
    allows one spouse to take advantage of the other post divorce until one of them
    dies. Even in death, the law demands
    one person to hold the life insurance policy on the other so that they are
    enriched further. Why? Becaue the state does not want to have to
    take care of someone who once married and has little ambition to be totally
    independent. I wonder what feelings
    would be if a lawmaker’s son or daughter was caught up in a situation where their ex did not elect
    to work and remained financially dependent.
    If this law was fair would everyone be looking for an escape hatch? If you do not agree that equal parenting is
    good for a child, why don’t you ask the many parents who share custody? They have maintained a good relationship
    rather than always pegging them against the other parent. “Dad, can I get a car?” – “ Your mother gets all my money.” And then it goes to “Mom, Dad said you get
    all his money so can I have a car?” “Go
    ask your father, he makes more money than I do.” Is that what we want to teach our children?

    Of course people are frightened. They never before were faced with the
    expectation that they would be on their own.
    Free to earn and support their own choice of lifestyle. For the first time, hold themselves
    responsible for their own decisions. Freedom. Choice.
    When you pay alimony, you have neither.
    I encourage the governor to sign the bill so that Florida will be known
    to treat their residents equally, fairly, and justly.

    • I vehemently oppose this bill!

      I understand your point, but, you also speak from a perspective and example from an engaged Father. At least 1 parent, who is engaged, the Mother, has all the money to buy the kid the car! The Mother can also contribute to their college needs, first home, first baby etc…Now, imagine a person who is coward enough to hide, run and act like the lives they help create are now a burden and they simply vanish and disassociate out of convenience. This bill, for me and others alike, is painful, very painful. I’m not speaking on principle or anger, but the harsh reality that my future is grim from the eyes of finances.

      • Brandy

        Maybe the guy ran away from you and not your kid but rather than put up with your incessant whining and bitterness, it was easier to leave all of you. Don;t act like you are perfect and deserve to force someone to stay or pay.

  • fl2007rn

    Please support the bill Gov Scott. My husband was married for 20 years with 3 kids and has to pay $ 3000 for the rest of his life to a college educated woman who got divorced at age 42. She chooses to work part time and is underemployed on purpose. We ended up with custody and paying all the bills (including cars, college, etc) for all 3 kids for the past 11 years! She paid ZERO child support to us. Meanwhile, she has had several live in boyfriends who have also given her money and even got a “wedding ring” tattooed on her right finger and will not get remarried because she will lose her gravy train lifestyle. My husband tried to take her back to court last year and the Judge could care less if she was living with someone and we had to end up paying her court costs. It is almost impossible to get a modification once the permanent alimony has been set. Oh and my income can be counted to pay her alimony too. I certainly wasn’t married to the woman so why should I have to pay for her lifestyle? How will my husband ever be able to retire at age 65??? It is very difficult to get a remodification and my husband has a job where he has to mandatory retire at age 65. The current law leaves too much for the Judges discretion and promotes litigation for all the parties involved. The only ones making money off this are the divorce attorneys.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Katie-Stanton/100000878949102 Katie Stanton

      Second wives should be ashamed of themselves for supporting this bill, bashing the first wives. Maybe some of the second wives will find themselves displaced by third wives and have their children taken away from them and see how they like it. Check out the reasons that second wives so often want custody of the first wives children. It is mainly so that their new hubby can be their gravy train! http://www.thelizlibrary.org/child-centered-divorce/stepmothers-seeking-custody.html (1) Maintaining the exclusivity of her husband’s familial interests and affections toward her, and by extension, “her” family. This gives rise to the common emotional need to redefine the stepchild as belonging to the stepmother, i.e. “ours”, and part of the stepmother’s nuclear family. Stepchildren are competition for fathers’ limited free time and resources. This is true whether or not the stepmother has her own children.

      Unlike in an intact biological family, the father’s interests are going to be conflicted in a blended family situation. There is no fully satisfactory solution to this, and it is one reason blended families do not function so well (and have such high divorce rates), especially if the father spends time with his prior children in activities that by the father’s choice or of necessity exclude his later-born children or wife. There are many examples of these: court-mandated father-child only activities, dinners out, and therapies; parent-teacher conferences and school events also attended by the ex; pick-ups and drop-offs that can take considerable time away from the intact family, derail spontaneity in outings, and may also include impromptu visiting with the former spouse; continuing communications with the former spouse; activities during timesharing with the older stepchild that are not suitable for including later children or the stepmother; timesharing and school holiday schedules that conflict with the stepmother’s children’s time off or interfere with holiday plans, etc.

      Some men resolve the conflict by directing the bulk of their emotional and financial support toward the children of their current wife, rather than their own children from other relationships, even if her children are not his. Others cause undercurrents of strife in their current marriages by voluntarily or involuntarily continuing to divert a not insubstantial part of their free time and emotional and financial resources to a competing family system. In the latter situation, their current wives consciously or subconsciously attempt to resolve this problem (women tend to manage family systems) by creating one unified family and/or by engaging in a pretense of loving the stepchildren and the timesharing arrangement, especially if they have no choice in the matter.

      Some women lack insight into their own feelings, subsuming them under a need or strong desire to please their husbands. Some have no practicable choice but to carry the banner of their husband’s ongoing complaints, gripes and excuses, or displaced guilt about how his choices might have harmed his prior children, because if they stop cheerleading, their marriages will falter. Others just silently chafe, as he continues to maintain a “good relationship” with the people who had first claim on him.

      (2) Reducing the child support her husband has to pay. This is especially pernicious inasmuch as the subsequent wife should have been aware of her mate’s prior obligations when she decided to marry and have children with him. Some women, however, often those who were childless when they met him, did not at the inception fully appreciate the financial impact of the prior obligations, the possibility of increased child support in later years, the insulting effect of their own financial contributions toward limiting his deductions in the child support calculation process, how this would impact their own emotions down the road or their future children (or their subconscious vision of a future intact happy family), or any of the attendant blended family emotional and authority issues. Financial issues are the tangible symbol of the loyalty and unhealthy alliance problems, and are a more easily perceived and articulated irritant.

      (3) Obtaining a vague hoped-for better situation on balance for her own children, such as the older half-sibling’s affection (if the stepchild is more attached to his mother’s other children than to hers), or even free babysitting. Notwithstanding men’s fond hopes, it is nearly never that a stepmother feels about her stepchildren as she does about her own children. Importantly, stepchildren do not benefit from being continually in a residential situation in which they are second-best to the better-loved biological children of their stepmothers.

      Moreover, the stepmother’s own children, who have only one mother, do not benefit from sharing their one mother with a child or children who already have a mother elsewhere. The stepmother’s children also do not benefit from the continual presence of a stepchild who lives by other rules and values, or from witnessing their own mother’s denigrated household and parental authority vis a vis the step-sibling. Most often, however, and more and more these days with the fatherhood rhetoric and parenting plans, the stepmother has no choice or control over the timesharing situation that directly affects her own family and marital life. Thus, having more control can seem preferable, and more “family” timeshare carries the possibility of more control.

      These issues not infrequently are subsumed under the compelling and usually inarticulated or unrecognized emotional needs of the stepmother described under item (1), above. But they also are about control and consistency that the stepmother needs for the benefit of her own children. Even though the presence of a stepchild denigrates the time and attention the stepmother can direct toward her own children, the stepmother may still believe that if the stepchild were integrated into the her family system, the detriment to her own children will be offset by more hoped-for familial unity. Her goal is to reduce the father’s split loyalties and the competition from the stepchild(ren) that turns his attention away from her family. If the stepchild is only another member of the group of children in the stepmother’s home, then perhaps the father’s time and attention can remain consistently directed to all of them collectively (e.g. holidays, family outings). So not infrequently, stepmothers seek compromise strategies even though their real feelings — albeit self-preservation dictates that they usually will loudly and indignantly deny these feelings — range from tolerating the less-than-ideal situation (if they truly are fond of the stepchild or stepchildren), to fervently wishing that his former family would just vaporize and disappear.

      (4) Satisfying a need, also widespread among childless stepmothers and girlfriends, to prove that she is, in all ways, the better woman and mother. This is a competition thing, often exacerbated intentionally or unintentionally by the husband, about the woman who was there first. Some second wives uncritically adopt, attempt to create, and/or seek to reinforce the negative opinions of their husbands toward the first wife, vested in believing wholly in his skewed point of view and a reconstructed history of his prior relationship (e.g. “I never really loved her”; e.g.”She is a negligent mother”; e.g. “Parental alienation”, etc.). Not infrequently, their husbands deliberately or unwittingly promote this, and may even have remarried in part to obtain convenient homemaking and childcare from a preferred fungible (in his mind) “mother”. Other women develop their own negative feelings because of jealousy, especially when naive assumptions about being “the mother” in an instant family give way over time to the reality. Many women live to regret their credulity, and change their points of view considerably, if later on they themselves get divorced from the same man. This is particularly sad for second wives who did not have the children they might have had, and after years of effort, illusions are shattered when, post-divorce, they are no longer a de facto mother of his children as both of them formerly pretended was the case.

      Are there exceptions to these rules? Sure. But far, far less often than not, and almost never if there is a stepmother leading the effort to change an existing custody arrangement.

  • http://www.facebook.com/hellen.smith.7568 Hellen Smith

    VETO THIS BILL IS ATI WOMEN AND FAMILY, THIS WILL ALSO CREATE MANY PROBLEMS IN COURT SYSTEM!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Katie-Stanton/100000878949102 Katie Stanton

    The Governor needs to veto this bill! Pretending that childbirth and mothering are gender neutral is more INEQUALITY for women. Many women are primary caretakers for their children. This bill would make sure that children lose their primary caretaker as the starting point for custody is 50/50 instead of having the starting point be an approximation of the situation the child already has. A divorce should be to improve a child’s situation if their is any kind of abuse, which there very very often is, but with are mother-hating court system, the abuse is ignored or minimized, or even used against a parent who is trying to protect their child. This bill rewards cheaters, losers, abusers, and molesters by taking the child away from the non-offending parent and giving the child to the offending parent at least have of the time. It is also obvious from this bill that a main motivation of taking custody away is to avoid paying the primary caretaker. There seems to be a very misguided idea of what “equality” is. This male version of “equality” is more inequality for women as a woman’s contribution to the pregnancy, childbirth, childcare, and primary parenting are completely ignored. Since the word “equality” is so perverted now to give others rights they wouldn’t naturally even have, it would be better to ask for “fairness” to have the primary parent recognized for their sacrifices and contributions. The biggest loser in all of this will be the child who will lose their primary caretaker. Custody changes that need to be made are to give children an approximation of the spent with each parent prior to divorce. And children who are being mistreated or if a parent is battered then the other parent should not be around as it endangers the victim parent and the child.

    For more on Gender Blind Gender Neutral Inequality see this link:http://www.thelizlibrary.org/liz/003.htm

    It is no news to anyone that women’s function as society’s childbearers is the reason society’s laws and customs have relegated women to subordinate status.

    Most women at some point during their lifetimes will become pregnant and bear children. But no woman will spend but a relatively small portion of her life in this capacity, and for many women, it has no relevance to their lives at all.

    Freedom of choice aside, at some point SOMEONE is going to have to bear the future citizens that will keep this world going, and whoever it is, those someones will have one thing in common: they will be women.

    Over the last thirty-odd years, we have rushed to do away with all laws that even hint at treating the sexes differently. And this is understandable. The sole real difference between men and women (that being, when there *is* going to be a child brought into this world, which of the sexes is going to be doing it) has been used to hurt women. It has been used traditionally in all other arenas of life to place women into restricted roles, whether or not that one difference bears any important nexus to anything else. And the fear of disparate treatment is very real, utterly rationale, thoroughly understandable.

    But the solution is not to pretend that there is no difference between men and women where there is a difference. We recognize the illegality of ostensibly neutral laws with disparate impact in many areas of the legal system. We are afraid to look at them where women’s acceptability is at stake. And we are hurting women…

    If we had high-rise buildings with stairs, but no elevators, would it be equality to a person needing a wheelchair to tell them, “Go right ahead — work on the twentieth floor. No one is stopping you. You’re free to get up there however you can manage it.”

    We don’t do that. AND, we do not have a problem worrying about how recognizing that a person who is differently enabled in an ambulatory capacity will be further discriminated against if we provide elevators as an alternative to the arbitrary method of using staircases to reach the upper floors.

    In fact, we do just the opposite. We recognize that to NOT provide accessibility to the person in the wheelchair by the arbitrary insistence on stairs IS discrimination. And we do not pretend that merely making the stairs available in a neutral way to everyone, regardless of circumstance, is NOT discrimination.

    To a small extent we have permitted legislation recognizing discrimination against women when they are simply functioning as women, but for the most part, only in the actual throes of late-term pregnancy: some employment laws, a few laws here and there requiring pregnancy to be included in disability leaves, and similar laws.

    More of the laws, however, serve to protect only those pregnant women who can function pregnant identically as they could function in a non-pregnant state, without protecting those women who cannot. (Suddenly, professional ability is not enough — the woman lawyer or engineer must also become a super-athlete.)

    “You’ve got equal opportunity to get up those stairs same as anyone else. Why, just last week, Mr. X, who used to be an Olympic weightlifter before he lost his legs, got all the way up to the fifteenth floor walking on his hands. And Ms. Y has no problem — why she just has her chauffeur and bodyguard carry her up! If they can do it, what’s your problem?”

    Oh… but there is a difference, you say? Pregnancy and having a family is a CHOICE. A choice, just like so-and-so’s choice to do drugs and drop out of school. He made a bad choice, and now it’s his tough luck that he’s not all that employable.

    So… a family… what a frivolity. How would you feel about a rule that required women, if they wanted, say, an automobile, to have to trade their right to own real estate in order to obtain one… but men, of course, were permitted to have both. How would you feel about a rule that simply required women to pay more than men (work harder) for the automobile?

    The point is, where there are existing inequities in the system — let alone a biologically determined real and inalterable difference — gender neutral laws only perpetuate the discrimination and inequities.

    Does a man have to make a choice between fatherhood and his ability to achieve in the employment sphere?

    Are we seeking equality for women only if they can live their lives as men do, never getting pregnant? Is it the feminist goal to set up THREE genders — men’s-with-or-without-children, women’s-without-children, and women’s-with-children?

    We are so afraid of asking for “special treatment” for women…

    Odd, but when men had no choice but to take off from work because of conflicting — valued — functions performed for the overall and indirect “benefit to society,” they got special laws passed — AND NO ONE COMPLAINED!!! The man in military combat? No problem, there are special laws to protect him from the service of lawsuits and creditors. Called up for the reserves? No problem — your employer must hold your job. In fact, when you come back, we’ll give you tuition credits and a break on housing loans… Jury duty? No problem — even if you get stuck for six months, we’ll pass laws to take care of you. The recognition that you are going to be sick sometime, maybe disabled? No problem — it’s something that happens to all men on occasion, and we have leaves and policies to handle it.

    Consideration for pregnancy and childbearing? No. That’s only something that could happen to a woman. Her problem.

    THE FAMILY LEAVE ACT

    Politically correct, and gender neutral, it has been heralded as some kind of gain for “parents” who must work. Never mind the unavoidable reality of life that pregnancy is just not an equal situation, and it is the woman who needs the leave. Never mind that the woman will be taking off work in any event, and that it is doubtful that both she and her working husband will do without any income while she recuperates. And never mind that if the woman is working, her family probably needs the income, and a shorter PAID mandatory maternity leave is what she and her family really need, not a law that permits either her or her husband to take a leisurely unpaid leave. And of course, unpaid “parental leave” does nothing at all for a single or divorced woman who is the sole support of a family and simply cannot afford to be without a paycheck — ironically, the person most in need of help under these circumstances.

    A l978 California law required employers to make special allowance for pregnancy leaves. The law was struck down by the federal courts when Lillian Garland sued California Savings and Loan, her employer, which argued that giving her a maternity leave discriminated against men. The National Organization for Women and the National Women’s Political Caucus filed amicus briefs siding with the employer in the Supreme Court. They argued that pregnancy should be treated just like any other disability and since men were not given disability leaves, neither should pregnant women be given maternity leave. [Cal. Fed. Savings and Loan Assn. V. Guerra, 107 S.Ct. 683 (l987). The Supreme Court disagreed. And in this case, the Supreme Court was right!

    Pregnancy is NOT akin to a health disorder. It is a natural, normal, expected and foreseeable EXTRA job that women alone perform. Last I checked, being a military reservist was also a “voluntarily chosen” conflict…

    In brief, a few other examples of gender-neutral laws that perpetuate gender inequality:

    CHILD SUPPORT GUIDELINES: In most states, are roughly calculated on a formula that takes into gender-neutral consideration, the combined income of the spouses and the amount of time the child will spend in each respective parent’s home. The problem of shared/joint custody not alleviating “fixed overhead” is only now even starting to be acknowledged. The problem of limited human energy resources negatively impacting the custodial mother’s wage-earning capacity is not considered. The extra human labor involved and the opportunity costs are neither recognized nor compensated for. The workplace biases that impact women more than men as to future income-raises and asset accumulation ability, and other existing economic costs that make life more expensive for women are not considered.

    CHILD CUSTODY ON DIVORCE: The gender-neutral laws that have done away with presumptions in favor of women who have been the primary caregiver have permitted men to seek custody as a bargaining chip to trade off for assets, and require women to expend legal costs that they are less able than their ex-husbands to pay, just to maintain the status quo as it existed during the marriage.

    (Unless and until we adequately compensate stay-at-home parents for the value of economic opportunity lost, men as a group will NOT be choosing to take on an equal share of parenting. Women will keep the job by biological default — it is much easier, since she has to plan to adjust her employment for the delivery and recuperation period anyway, and thus ends up being primary caregiver in the initial weeks, to simply permit the pattern set to continue, especially if there are or will be more than one child. There is just no incentive to put two careers into upheaval.)

    ALIMONY AND PROPERTY DIVISION LAWS: Equitable distribution and support based on current “need and ability to pay” does not compensate for the value of front-loaded contributions. Where the laws work against women, they are “protective” — rehabilitative alimony as a preference, and just enough to maintain. Where the laws work against women, they are “economic partnership theory” — an “equitable division” without regard to diminishment in future income-earning capacity.

    It may be well and good to hypothesize that it is theoretically possible for the woman to have been the breadwinner, and for the man to have stayed home… the reality is, is if she’s the breadwinner and he’s the homemaker, they are going to be in big economic trouble when she gets pregnant and gets no paid leave to recuperate. When her employer marks demerits for repeated tardiness due to morning sickness. When, during a pregnancy, she becomes disabled… When six weeks after the birth of the child, she’s STILL exhausted and just not functioning up to par (some women take up to a year to completely fully recover — a factor that’s been downplayed.) When her employer refuses to grant additional breaktime so that she can pump her breastmilk… because we don’t want to give any special treatment to women.

    (Sure, lots of women seem to do it all without missing a beat. And a lot more simply cannot. Some persons can run the marathon, too.)

    CHILD CARE AND OUR TAX LAWS: The tax laws are gender-neutral… for the most part… that does not mean that the scheme itself or the theory of the law is gender-neutral in effect. Years ago, a group of mostly white men with wives at home thought that it would be a fair thing to permit a deduction from income for the personal but obviously necessary expense a man would incur moving his wife, children and household to another place in order to take a new job. It never occurred to them, that anyone would have a much more pressing and necessary expense in order to earn income — child care. Why isn’t *all* child care, however arranged, deductible?

    Other laws are gender-neutral on their face, and also schematically, but still perpetuate hardship for women. E.g. the I.R.S. has had a policy of sending out notices to only one person per return. That’s the first-named person. Which means, if one is the second-named person on a joint return, and one now lives apart from one’s former spouse, one does not get notices of deficiencies–one only has an equal liability therefor. How many couples do you think list the wife’s name first on their joint return?

    And all men at some point have to stop work to retire. We have numerous schemes available for pensions and asset accumulation to plan for this. Work from age 18 or 21 to age 65, then take off. That’s the norm we’re all expected to live up to. It suits men’s lives. But women live longer, by about eight years. THEY may need to “retire” briefly early in their careers, but may be more able to work beyond age 65. Where are the tax-advantaged savings and pension schemes to permit THIS employment pattern?

    I think that if we are going to seek equal rights for the long-run, meaning equal access for men and women to the “20th floor,” the economic, political, social institutions of the world, then we have to do a lot more, and a lot less than simply espousing notions of gender-blindness, and going along with sound-good, feel-good slogans of equality that have more to do with language than with promoting equality in effect.

    Women are not “just like men.”

    ALL women should be entitled to achieve a measure of economic success, security, achievement, and power in their lives identical to that they would have been able to achieve had they merely been born male. That includes, not the bare equal opportunity to be judged as a man would be in the workplace, but an equal quality of life, along WITH, at their option, the choice to have the children and family and leisure time they would have chosen to have — and could have had — as men.

    It does NOT include the “opportunity” merely to spend their lives struggling — working longer, and harder, and sacrificing on the one hand in order to gain on the other.

    It does NOT include merely the chance to choose to function in the employment sphere just like men do, in order to achieve economic parity, provided they forego parity in other areas.

    That’s not “equality” in any sense.

    • Brandy

      Cry us a river.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Katie-Stanton/100000878949102 Katie Stanton

        Are you the president of the Second Wives Club? You really represent!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Katie-Stanton/100000878949102 Katie Stanton

    “It’s going to put the parents on more equal footing and it’s going to be an interesting change for the children.” I wouldn’t call it an “interesting change” for a child to lose their primary caretaker. I would call it child abuse. Since when are men and women on “equal footing”? This is more of the same old male privilege being called “equality.” There is nothing modern about not compensating and ignoring a woman’s contributions, sacrifices, and opportunity costs.

    • Brandy

      Of course you would feel this way, gold digger.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Katie-Stanton/100000878949102 Katie Stanton

        Really Brandy, FYI I am the breadwinner, the unemployed ne-er do well who quite job thinking he could get free ride, party and gamble all the time was the gold digger. Wow – equality is great. I can bear children, take care of them, and I am supposed to raise a man-chiid too? I think a Second Wife would be wonderful for Mr. Equality!

      • M1CH4EL

        Brandy, it is unhelpful to resort to name-calling. If you’re upset, go blow off steam by exercising or something. Please be a good ambassador for SB718.

    • M1CH4EL

      Katie, it is hyperbolic in the extreme to claim children are going to “lose their primary caretaker” and to say it’s “child abuse” if the courts order a 50/50 time-sharing arrangement. The words “lose” and “abuse” politely request, “Please stop torturing us!”

  • l m

    how many of the male legislators that voted yes for this bill , have cheated on their wives , led double lives during their marriage . these men are pompous and narcissistic jerks
    women need to stand up and throw these bombs out

    • Brandy

      Who cares. How many women let themselves go to crap after they get married to where a guy has no choice but to find someone who actually takes pride in the way they look?

      • l m

        You are tactless and vile. You lack the intellectual, and the moral capacity to discuss the merit of this bill. This bill in its present form raises serious issues of marriage, family life and most importantly children. in many of your responses you have shown to be immature and heartless. if you cannot add meaningful insight to this debate zip up your mouth and crawl back to the gutter where you came from. You are disrespectful and insolent.

        • Brandy

          You speak of morality yet you want a guy who does not want you to pay just because he is having more fun riding a new woman. You are a woman scorned that gives the rest of us a bad name. Should have kept your man happy and he wouldn’t have left. Your gravy train is over. Now what would be fair is there was a bill that compensated your hubby for marrying such a crappy wife.

          • l m

            Read the bill , your comments are vacuous and pusillanimous. I’am not on any one gravy train , you are part of the bottom feeders of this society and lack the. Self respect to continue this debate with you . If you are ” riding multiple men ” I suggest you protect yourself from Aids , warts , syphilis ect .

      • M1CH4EL

        Brandy, why do you insult people who disagree with you? It decreases the credibility of supporters of SB718, people like me. Please play nice.

  • ElvinaBergmannKallett

    Dear Governor Scott:

    I have a job interview on Thursday. I plan to tell them I want them to continue my salary forever if I quit or get fired. I also want them to continue to pay my salary when and if I ever get another job. Although, let’s face it: why would I?

    I have drawn up an employment agreement that spells this out, along with the fact that if they go out of business or for some reason can…’t afford to pay my salary anymore, they have to sue me to reduce their payments and it will take several months, maybe longer than a year, for a judge to order a reduction – and even then the judge may just decide to keep the payments to me coming.

    What do you think? Sounds like a pretty good deal for me, huh? That’s what lifetime alimony is all about. Why shouldn’t I also have such a good deal?
    (Thank you for this Robin Descamp)

    My husband is paying lifetime alimony to his ex-wife who left the marriage to pursue a lesbian lifestyle. For this, she was rewarded with $48,000/year lifetime alimony. My husband attempted to modify this amount when he made $30,000 less the year after the divorce and has remained at that earning level for the last seven years (he’s in sales and relies on commissions). The Judge ruled that $30,000 less in income wasn’t a sufficiently significant change in circumstances to warrant a reduction. It certainly is to us since my husband is paying some months 65% of his gross earnings to the ex, leaving us with little to live on ourselves.

    I urge your support for alimony reform as it goes a long way towards reforming Florida’s outdated, unjust, and ultimately unfair alimony laws. It’s my sincere hope you are listening to your constituents and the people of this state and not the misinformation and propaganda being spread by the Family Law Section or other special interest groups with vested interests in preserving the status quo.

    1. The Family Law Section of the Florida Bar is opposed to this bill and has been spreading misinformation about both the bill and the current divorce and alimony law in what can only be viewed as a selfish attempt to preserve their own litigation-derived income. There is no other reason to oppose this bill. They assert this bill, if approved, would be devastating to families. This is absurd. The families in question were already devastated when the divorce occurred. It is the current laws that further devastate the parties afterwards by bleeding one while encouraging dependency in the other. The new bill does not in any way alter child support responsibilities so children’s welfare remains protected and provided for.

    2. The FLS claims the proposed bill is anti-women. This is also completely untrue. Indeed, there are women paying lifetime alimony too, in some cases to men who abused them! Florida’s antiquated alimony laws date from an era when women were less educated and not expected to support themselves. Times have changed and single and divorced women are educated, trained, gainfully employed and financially independent.

    3. The FLS claims the existing law already provides for termination of alimony when the obligor reaches retirement age. Like their other allegations, this is patently false and obviously self-serving. While the current law may provide the right to hire a lawyer (likely a member of the FLS!) and seek modification of alimony at retirement age, it does not end alimony payments nor does it assure a reduction in the amount being paid. Many alimony payers cannot afford or even think of retiring and will have to work until the day they die!

    4. While the bill provides for retroactively reviewing and re-hearing previous divorce settlements and possibly ending or modifying alimony, it does not call for the immediate termination of all previous alimony awards. If an alimony recipient can prove a clear need for alimony, the payments would continue. The bill does, however, call for abolition of permanent alimony and the establishment of specific guidelines on how long alimony should be paid.

    Please sign in favor of alimony reform. You will help my family as well as many others.
    Thank you.

  • rew

    Wake up everyone, this will change nothing. The family court
    is Friend of the court and not friend of the family. The same court system that
    takes false allegations, with no investigations and labels men as deadbeats,
    abusers, ect, throws men behind bars with what rights? Children are and have been “income not taxed” for moms that are not willing to work. Why would she? I lost my
    kids, house, 19 years at my job (large amounts of overtime pay, bonus, health
    care),”alimony” my inheritance (she took half, lawyers took another 3rd),
    Income set as if I made 100k a year in the decree. She stole from the bank account and gave thousands to her parents which don’t talk to her anymore and they called that “marital property”.. BS it’s all BS; I had to supplement living off the rest my money she could not touch and went thru my 401k which she took half. While as an Engineer I bounced from contract to contract that jobs expired, jobs and income are not the same in this economy. I left the state forced to find employment I don’t make 45k yearly now and she gets 68% of my income, FED takes 28% and I live off the rest. It’s all greed, my car is 17 yrs old, Hers is a 2013 caravan. The courts will not adjust support lower ( I was even living in my car for months, employed ); they just
    figure the man is a debit card. Where is my standard of living. I can’t afford my medication,, no way possible. She works under the table and I can’t prove
    she cleans office buildings twice a week or more, (but that’s not big deal) It’s
    how she is proud she gave the new cars( both hers and mine) to destroy our kids
    chance at college education, and put me in the street after I said NO you
    don’t.. She also has a new baby (another income for 18 years) with a man in his
    50’s. She collects SSI from my older son (did that as soon as she could after the divorce) and none of these facts count in friend of the court.

    Wake up the alimony is who lives with the kids, (the mother) shared custody is a joke, the system is a fraud, Judges know how they make money from the system. No
    woman wants a man that more than half his money goes to support his ex-wife and
    is always broke and penny pinching just to get by.

    There are few good men who survive this like a cancer. I am not bitter, these
    are the facts, Lets repeat this I am not bitter, these are the facts. GOD has
    my back, he sent me back after a heart attack. I will survive and just maybe
    educate my daughter and boys someday. Yes I call my daughter every day to talk
    to her, Kids need an active parent not a refrigerator. I still have my dreams. I am a “B” person and will make good grades with GOD and pray daily. She was D which dragged me down like the devil now I have to start over.
    Natalie was a C, who I met after a year separation and final day of the
    big “D” in the “Big D” the money became an issue for her and had an affair in
    the same sheets we slept in, because no woman wants a man who is broke no
    matter how much love there is or was. For some the flowers, the candy the gifts can never stop. I am not average, I am exceptional and will
    prevail as GOD protects even if I have to live in my car again.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000107363503 Lee Kallett

    The Family Law Section of the Florida Bar Association is opposed to alimony reform. I suspect this is due to their fear that ending permanent alimony will impact their income because permanent alimony equals permanent litigation. We should not let the self -serving greed of some lawyers stand in the way of correcting the unjust laws governing alimony in Florida. Perhaps these lawyers can take solace knowing that they will have the opportunity to cash in on the wave of litigation when alimony payers such as myself have the opportunity to seek redress. There are people posting who have been identified as shills for the FLS. Please listen to the overwhelming support in favor of alimony reform and sign the bill into law. Thank you Governor.

    • Laurie

      Exactly Lee. Good grief women, stop being such victims and get out and DO something with your lives!! You were in an abusive relationship, your husband was a selfish s.o.b., you stayed home and took care of the kids…waah waah waah! What do you think women in the rest of the country, or the world for that matter, do after a divorce?? You should be thanking your lucky stars that you were divorced in Florida and not in one of the other 47 states that doesn’t HAVE permanent alimony! Do you think those women are sitting home on their computers whining about their lot in life and how they deserve so much more??? Go out and look for a job, go back to school, start your own business, babysit, wait tables, work retail, learn a trade…do SOMETHING to improve your OWN life instead of sitting at home growing more and more bitter and thinking about how everyone is out to get you and how unfair it all is! This is not 1950 and you are not Harriet Nelson! Unless you are disabled, or a senior citizen, you have NO excuse to not do whatever it takes to improve your own life. Geez, you make women look whiny and needy and totally dependent..grow a pair and get out into the world and make your way…you’ll be SO much happier!!

  • FamilyLawWestPalmBeach

    As we can see from the comment thread, the topic of alimony and custody gives rise to many viewpoints and opinions, reflecting both sides of the issue involved in deciding. Divorce is usually an emotionally charged life change, and it affects the entire family. Only time will tell the results from this bill. Thanks for the post and video. http://www.cheshirefamilylaw.com

  • Luiz Vieira

    Florida divorce law about child support its ridiculous. And forcing parents that don’t want to be parents to become parents is not solution nor best interest of the children. Judges should start to exercise listening to kids above 12 years old to understand what’s going on and how to better rule and stop this thing about adults know everything on life of minors.

  • Diane

    Women, Brandy is a male participant posing as female! GAS LIGHTING THE VULNERABLE

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The Ocala City Council voted to repeal an ordinance banning saggy pants on city property. The controversial ordinance met with criticism from the NAACP.


City of Hampton Kicks Off New Era with First Election In About a Decade

The city of Hampton holds its first election in about 10 years today after state lawmakers give local leaders a second chance instead of dissolving the city. Citizens will vote to fill city council seats and approve charter amendments.


Marty Washington, 57, of Gainesville, Florida walks by the City of Waldo Police Department on Wednesday, September 3. Waldo is under investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement after being accused of issuing illegal ticket quotas for officers.

Steve Maynard Named Waldo’s Interim Police Chief

The Alachua County Sherriff’s Office has named Acting Captain Steve Maynard as Waldo’s new interim police chief, after the previous chief was accused of enacting illegal ticket quotas.


National Report, a satirical website, published a story stating Williston had signed a deal to replace the local police department with a privatized force. According to the article, the new police force would be "trained, managed, and wholly operated by Walmart."

Spoof Website Turns Attention to Williston Police Department

National Report, a satirical news website, drew attention to the Williston Police Department after publishing an article about a deal made with Walmart to supply the town with a new, privatized police force. Williston PD pointed out the satirical nature of the story on Facebook.


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Former Waldo Police Chief Accused of Unlawful Ticket Quota

Former Waldo Police Chief Mike Szabo and current Cpl. Kenneth Smith have been accused of misrepresentation, fraud and enforcing unlawful ticketing quotas among other allegations made by current Waldo police officers.


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