Governor Scott Vetoes Bill that Would End Permanent Alimony

Florida Governor Rick Scott has vetoed a bill that would have put an end to permanent alimony in the state. Scott issued his veto just hours before the deadline of midnight May 1, at which point the bill would have become law, making Florida the fifth state to ban permanent alimony.

In a letter to state legislators who worked on the bill, Scott wrote that the proposed legislation had many forward-looking elements, but that alimony remained an important judicial remedy to provide support for families after a divorce. Scott objected to the fact that the bill would have applied retroactively and would thus affect the settled economic expectations of many divorced Floridians, with potentially unfair results.

In issuing his veto, Scott wrote that the law in Florida already provides for alimony adjustment under the right circumstances.

Under the proposed legislation, limits would have been set on the amount of alimony, it would be harder to obtain for shorter marriages, and alimony payments would not last longer than half of the time the spouses had been married. The bill also would have required judges to award equal child custody to divorced parents, except in unusual circumstances.

The bill had strong bipartisan support in both the Florida Senate and House.

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