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Florida Families Lose With Passage Of HB231/SB718

TALLAHASSEE, Fla., March 22, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- This week, women, children and families across the state were dealt a devastating blow from the policy makers who were elected to act in the best interest of Florida's citizens, but instead, chose to collapse to the pressure of a small, vocal group of disgruntled alimony payors.

At the center of this very personal battle is HB231/SB718, the Dissolution of Marriage legislation that attempts to make significant, far reaching and harmful changes to Florida's current alimony statutes. This legislation is an apparent attack on dependent spouses, the majority of whom are women, and its impact will throw many families into despair.

"This proposed legislation is anti-woman and anti-family. It denies one set of people with sufficient funds to meet the basic needs of life, while rewarding another group of people by allowing them to walk away from existing agreements," said Carin M. Porras, Esq., Chair of the Family Law Section of The Florida Bar. "It is perpetuated by proponents who are refusing to assume responsibility for their obligations. By allowing this radical legislation to move through committee hearings, our state's policy makers have clearly signaled that putting Florida families first is of little priority."

There are several provisions that pose grave concern. First, the proposed legislation eliminates permanent alimony, which under current law can only be awarded after making findings of fact that no other form of alimony is fair and reasonable. Eliminating this option for judicial discretion will devastate the spouse who agreed to be the homemaker, gave up a career to care for children, moved to support a spouse's career ambitions, or for an ill or disabled spouse who is unable to work and will never be able to support themselves.

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