Happy Father’s Day! Although most fathers will be celebrating this day with children, family and friends, some fathers may not. This is because some fathers may be amid a divorce and may have barriers to building or continuing relationships with their children.
Unfortunately, when parents don’t have a tight temporary parent plan or other formalized agreement, each parent can make contacting the children difficult and nerve wracking. However, the law is on the side of right. By that I mean – most of the current laws regarding time-sharing are interpreted as being equally applicable to both parents. They are not specific in that regard, but they are applied mostly evenhanded.
Fathers are likely to get a more secure chance at a fair outcome in their divorce with proposed legislation that is likely to pass in Florida. Previously, the legislature attempted to rectify any inconsistencies in the application of alimony awards and time-sharing with children, but the previous governor vetoed the bill. That bill would have, in addition to alimony and time-sharing, addressed the length of time a divorce proceeding could last. Under most circumstances it would have had to end within 18 months.
The current bill has several key features that are likely to balance the playing field among parents and support payors. In particular, the bill has a provision that will make the presumption of equal time-sharing law. The current statute implies that, but the new one is expected to make it abundantly clear and require certain exceptions to be met before a judge can deviate from 50/50 time-sharing. This alone can reduce the length of time a divorce proceeding can last and cut down on attorney’s fees dramatically.
Another provision will eliminate permanent or “lifetime” alimony. This is a realistic approach to the problem of seniors having to extend their working career beyond expected retirement or to pay alimony from passive income or their life’s savings long after they retire. The new law will allow for a “wind down” of alimony payments of 25% for the 4 years preceding retirement. It also considers the average retirement age as
opposed to allowing judges to ascribe a “reasonable retirement age” for the litigant in front of him/her.
Alimony will now be calculated with limitations as to the length of time it is payable as well as caps on the amount a payor is liable for. Most of the new provisions have a limit on alimony payments based on ½ the length of the marriage. The payments, which previously had no statutory limitations, are going to be limited to 35% of the difference in income between the parties. This is another advantage to litigants because it cuts down on unreasonable demands and expectations of long-term extravagant support. Yes, this will also cut the length of divorce proceedings and reduce attorney’s fees.
Hopefully the bill will become law. If you have any questions or concerns about your potential divorce, please call us for a personal in office consultation. At the Law Offices of Michael B. Brehne, P.A., we design a strategy tailored to your family’s needs.