For the past couple of months, we have been keeping readers up to date on the saga of the major alimony and parenting time bill that passed the state legislature in March. Since then, it has not been presented to Gov. Ron DeSantis as required by the state constitution – until today, June 17.
Bill presented to governor
According to the website of The Florida Senate, today legislative officers signed the enrolled bill, meaning the version finally approved by both houses, and presented it to the governor for his consideration.
As we recently posted, S.B. 1796 is extremely controversial and the governor has managed to keep his opinion to himself, so many in the state who deal professionally or personally with family law, divorce and related matters have been on pins and needles to learn what he will do with the law.
Why the controversy?
Specifically, it would do away with permanent alimony, give alimony payors specific rights upon reasonable retirement, direct judges to presume a 50-50 split in parenting time is in a child’s best interest (subject to rebuttal by evidence to the contrary) and forbid judges from considering adultery in setting alimony awards, among other things. We discussed these provisions in detail in several previous blogs on this website.
What happens now?
The governor has 15 days from the date of presentation (since the legislature is not in session) to sign or veto the bill. If he does not veto it within the time limit, it becomes law as if he had signed it, according to the Florida Constitution. Since this is not an appropriations bill, he may not veto some provisions and approve others – a veto or approval here must be of the entire bill.
Should he veto it, he must send his objections in writing to the legislative house in which the bill originated (here, the Senate). The Florida Constitution sets out specific procedures for what the legislature may do with the legislation in that scenario as well as a process for overriding a veto by a two-thirds vote of each house.
Stay tuned to this space.