Lawmakers in the Florida state legislature are working together to craft a bill that would implement some major changes to state family law. The main focus is to reform spousal support payments, which are currently paid for life or until a former spouse re-marries. The proposal would alter that standard and provide other criteria that impact the amount and duration of spousal support payments. For example, there could be an option to reduce spousal support payments when the paying spouse retires.
The proposed bill also includes some provisions that would impact child custody and support laws in Florida. One controversial change is to create a default arrangement of child custody that is spilt 50/50 between the two parents. This provision was included in an earlier version of the bill that was vetoed by Governor Rick Scott.
A spokesperson from the Family Law section of the Florida State Bar says that the group would probably not back this proposal for the second version of the bill. She said that splitting custody 50/50 between parents could have many other consequences besides giving fathers more parenting time. For example, it may impact a lesser-earning spouse’s ability to collect adequate child support. It could also subject children to a chaotic living situation if they are moving between homes frequently, particularly if parents live far away from each other. Such a provision could also intensify custody battles according to some experts.
What do you think – is reforming Florida child custody laws a good idea? Or are the current default laws serving Florida’s children and families well?
Source: Sun Sentinel, “Alimony reform advocates retooling legislation,” Kathleen Haughney, Sept. 15, 2013.