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Gov. Ron DeSantis vetoes Florida alimony payment bill

The Family Law Section of the Florida Bar had previously urged the governor to veto it.
Credit: AP Photo/Lynne Sladky
FILE PHOTO: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis attends a media event in June 2022 in Miami.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Gov. Ron DeSantis on Friday vetoed a bill that would alter the way in which the state issues alimony in a divorce. 

SB 1796, formally called the Dissolution of Marriage bill, called for the court to put an end to permanent alimony payments

In addition, if a person paying alimony were to retire, they would have to file a notice of retirement and intent to terminate alimony within a specified time frame, except under certain circumstances.

DeSantis objected to the bill explaining, "it would unconstitutionally impair vested rights under certain preexisting marital settlement agreements," he wrote in an official letter.

Marriages that end before the three-year mark would not qualify for alimony.

The language of the legislation states, "durational alimony may not exceed 50 percent of the length of a marriage lasting between three and ten years, 60 percent of the length of a marriage lasting between 10 and 20 years, or 75 percent of the length of a marriage lasting 20 years or longer." 

Critics of the bill say it could impoverish ex-spouses who were homemakers and did not have a personal monthly income during the duration of the marriage.

The bill also stated that the court would begin with the "presumption" that in the best interest of a shared child, they spend equal time with the parents, unless the court finds it detrimental to the child. The parents would also have shared responsibility unless specified otherwise.

Those who oppose the bill say that change does the opposite and doesn't take into consideration what is in the best interest of the child.

Supporters of the legislation had argued it would have modernized the state's alimony law and made divorce proceedings more consistent and equitable while reducing litigation costs.

"This bill also protects children and allows both parties to retire with dignity, while giving the courts discretion to protect vulnerable alimony recipients," Marc Johnson of Florida Family Fairness wrote in a March 2022 statement released by the Alia Strategic Group.

While DeSantis did not sign this bill into law; back in March, it was approved by the Senate in a 21-16 vote and by the House in a 74-42 vote.

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