February 18, 2015
By Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization
Alimony reform continues to make headway across the country. In Massachusetts, alimony became a reality due in large part to the tireless work of Steve Hittner, with whom the National Parents Organization has recently teamed up to push for further family law reform. Now South Carolina and Florida seem on the brink of following suit.
In Florida, a bill has been written with the approval of parties usually opposed to each other in the effort to reform alimony law. One of those interested parties called the bill “the most progressive alimony reform bill in the nation.” The bill would end permanent alimony, provide guidelines judges would be required to use, crack down on recipients who cohabitate and prohibit increases to a payers’ income from increasing the amount of alimony paid. Read more about it here (Tampa Bay Times, 2/14/15).
In South Carolina, groups are moving to end permanent alimony in the state. As the law stands, a payer’s last payment will come on the day he or his ex dies and not before. Other people are entitled to retire and relax during the last years of their lives, but not alimony payers. For them, retirement is not an option; they must continue to work and earn to pay alimony to a former spouse.
“Alimony currently in South Carolina, permanent alimony is the only debt that can never be satisfied without the death of the payer or the death of the receiver,” Melissa Cash said.
Cash is a member of the South Carolina Alimony Reform group. She got involved with the group as her husband of seven years is one of the many that pay permanent alimony to a former spouse.
“It affects our life to a very great degree. We have to balance and ration everything we do,” Cash said.
Her husband has paid alimony for 15 years and they said enough is enough.
“He’s approaching the end of his career, but he can never end his career, because we are supporting someone else as well,” Cash said.
Read more about it here (Fox Carolina, 2/11/15).
The efforts in South Carolina and Florida mirror similar initiatives in Connecticut and New Jersey.