To the Editor:
The alimony legislation that is currently being considered in the Florida House and Senate is a blatant attack on women, especially our state’s senior women.
Currently, when couples divorce a spouse can get alimony if they have needs not fully addressed by the distribution of assets and if the other spouse has the ability to pay regardless of age. But that could soon change. Senate Bill 1796 and House Bill 1395 seek to place an age limit on alimony by preventing persons who have “reached retirement age” from paying alimony. This means a spouse can run out the clock, waiting until “retirement age” and then seek a divorce free of obligation from any potential alimony payments – no matter how long you were married. I am not sure who this is meant to serve, but it is terrible public policy.
Equally as shocking are provisions in the bills that allow a person who is currently paying alimony to terminate their obligation when they reach retirement age. Meaning, if you are a current alimony recipient your alimony can be terminated when your ex-spouse reaches retirement age regardless of what a court previously ordered, or you agreed upon. The retroactive application of this legislation is unconscionable and fundamentally unfair.
Both of these provisions will predominantly affect senior women, who, in large part spent their lives raising families, being homemakers and being a supportive spouse for decades. In many instances, it will leave them without the ability to continue their way of life and even place some women on the social welfare rolls, as they will be left with no means of support.
HB 1395 and SB 1796 are moving quickly through the process, and it is imperative that they be stopped.
I implore current alimony recipients who will be affected by this change, as well as women who could be affected in the future, to make their voices heard. Contact your state lawmakers today, as well as First Lady Casey DeSantis. Tell them to protect women – especially seniors – and stop this legislation in its tracks.
This is an egregious attack on senior women and, working together, we can stop it.
Village of Sunset Pointe