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Bills under Consideration Would Alter Court’s Options to Enforce Child Support Payment, Calculation of Alimony

Cash for alimony

The Florida state legislature is currently considering two bills relevant to divorce and custody in Florida. One would modify the manner in which Florida courts can sanction parents who have failed to pay child support. The other would alter how alimony is calculated after a divorce.

Court’s ability to automatically revoke nonpaying parent’s driver’s license may be limited

Rep. Kimberly Daniels of the Florida House of Representatives introduced HB 313, which was recently approved of by the House Children, Families and Seniors Subcommittee. The law would alter a portion of the “Florida Responsible Parent Act,” which governs how courts can sanction so-called “deadbeat dads” who have fallen behind on their child support payments. That law provides for automatic revocation of a parent’s driver’s license, or arrest, if that parent fails to make child support payments.

Critics of that law have complained that revoking a driver’s license makes that parent unable to get to work, hampering even further their ability to stay current with support payments should they lose their job. Arresting the parent can also cause loss of a job, possibly spurring a headlong fall into poverty. Daniels’ amendment to the law would protect nonpaying parents from automatic revocation of a driver’s license, instead allowing judges to require nonpaying parents to wear an electronic monitoring device and restrict those parents from traveling anywhere but to and from work if allowed to retain their driver’s license. The amendment would also offer tax incentives to businesses that employ those parents. The amendments to the child support law are now moving forward toward consideration by the assembly at large.

Alimony changes stalled in committee

Numerous attempts have been made over the past few years to revise the state’s laws on calculating alimony. A bill before the Florida Senate’s Children, Families, and Elder Affairs committee would have created a formula for courts to use when calculating alimony, using the incomes of each spouse and the length of the marriage to determine alimony payments. The law would have provided some flexibility for judges to veer from the formula where appropriate, as well. However, the chair of the committee has announced that she would not be advancing the bill forward for a vote during the current session, resulting in another year without changes to the state’s methods for calculating alimony.

If you’re facing a family law issue in Florida, such as a divorce or battle for child custody, contact the dedicated and experienced Pensacola family law attorney Crystal Collins Spencer for a consultation, at 850-912-8080, or in Sandestin at 850-424-6683 and Fort Walton Beach at 850-200-4652.

316 S. Baylen Street, Suite 520
Pensacola, FL 32502
Telephone: 850.912.8080 Fax: 850.912.8028
246 Tupelo Courtyard
Sandestin, FL 32550
Telephone: 850.424.6683
205 Brooks Street SE, Suite 301
Fort Walton Beach, FL 32548
Telephone: 850.200.4652
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