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Future of alimony in question if Florida bill passes

After years of sharing lives and finances, it can be difficult for Tampa residents to cope with the single life after a separation or divorce. Some people may view alimony as a necessary form of income that enables them to survive financially on their own. Others may expect to receive a monthly payment so that they can maintain the standard of living they enjoyed while married. Due to the various perceptions of alimony, there is often a great deal of controversy around the topic.

A proposed bill that would have dramatic effects on alimony is currently gaining support in Florida. Among its provisions are the elimination of permanent alimony and the limiting of alimony payments to half the length of the marriage, in some cases. Those in support of the bill cite the economic strain the current alimony laws place on those required to pay alimony, especially when the monthly payments are not needed by the receiving spouses. Those opposed to the bill argue that it could harm single parents and even change the circumstances for separated couples who have long since settled their divorces.

Alimony or spousal support can be granted by the courts in a variety of circumstances and in different ways. Alimony is generally intended to allow a divorcing spouse to maintain the standard of living enjoyed while married. It is often particularly relevant when one spouse had a great deal of wealth or in cases where one spouse stayed home with children at the expense of career development. Some alimony, called rehabilitative alimony, aims to provide temporary support to allow a divorcing spouse to get back on their feet. Permanent alimony is currently also a possibility, as well as a lump-sum payment.

Many factors are considered in alimony determinations, but it can be important to have the experience and guidance of an attorney to ensure that people's rights are protected. Being ordered to pay sizable alimony for a lengthy period of time can be as financially devastating to some people as getting denied the alimony income that they desperately need to survive.

Source: WFTV.com, "Florida lawmaker wants to make it tougher to get alimony," Feb. 14, 2013

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