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Florida women work to make alimony equitable

A group of women in Florida is working to make alimony laws more uniform. As the law stands, judges have discretion over the amount that one spouse must pay the other after they divorce. In some cases, retired women are ordered to pay alimony that exceeds half of their monthly income. Florida's governor vetoed a bill in 2013 that would have retroactively ended alimony for some Floridians.

Many women favor modernizing the state's alimony system. The proposed changes will ensure that women who have been homemakers for decades can receive the money they need to survive while they start a new life but will also make alimony settlements more equitable when both former spouses earned similar incomes during the marriage.

South Florida has one of the most narrow wage gaps in the country, with many women earning more than men. Under the current law, many women who earn more than their husbands have to pay alimony if they get divorced. Alimony orders sometimes extend more years than the couple was married. A change in the law will ensure that no matter which judge presides over a divorce, the alimony calculation will be uniform.

Alimony is only one of the financial considerations during a couple's divorce proceeding in Florida. A lawyer who is experienced in assisting divorcing clients divide their assets may be able to help someone who is concerned that they will be required to pay alimony to their former spouse. Until the Florida law is changed to reflect dual-wage households, lawyers may have to argue in court for equitable alimony payments.

Source: Sun Sentinel, "Some women now pressing for changes in alimony law", Donna Gehrke-White, August 03, 2013