March 4, 2015
Troy Matson, Chair, Florida
Congratulations to the National Parents Organization’s Troy Matson. His op-ed here strikes a blow not only in favor of shared parenting in his home state of Florida, but promotes SB 1248 that’s backed by NPO (Florida Times-Union, 2/27/15).
As followers of the National Parents Organization know, last year we graded every state’s laws regarding shared parenting. Each state received a grade of A — F reflecting the extent to which its laws encourage parents to equally share custody post-divorce. The results were not good, as Matson details in his fine editorial. Florida, that received a grade of C, did better than most.
Meanwhile, SB 1248 seeks reform of alimony laws in the state. Two years ago, the Sunshine State’s legislature passed significant alimony reform only to see the bill vetoed by Governor Rick Scott. So pro-reform forces are back this year with a bill they hope to see enacted into law. Matson, of course, has been instrumental in lobbying for its passage.
SB 1248 would do many things, but, in a nutshell, it would limit alimony payments in amount and duration. It sets out a detailed formula for each calculation giving a range of possible amounts paid and years of payment. Judges would be able to deviate from the guidelines in cases of unique need such as the disability of the recipient, but would be required to make detailed written findings of fact by clear and convincing evidence.
The bill also limits the combination of alimony and child support to 55% of the payer’s net income. It also urges the denial of alimony awards for marriages of two years or less.
To read Matson’s complete article, click on the link above.