Women’s group opposes end of lifetime alimony

Divorce|April 13th 2016

The governor of Florida should veto plans to end lifetime alimony, a women’s group has claimed.

A recently approved bill would, if passed, remove the option to award women lifetime alimony (maintenance), eliminate alimony for marriages of less than two years’ duration, and clarify the existing method of calculating alimony payments, taking the length of the marriage and any difference in earnings between the spouses into consideration.

Florida is one of the few remaining American states to allow lifetime maintenance payments following divorce. If awarded it continues until either the paying party dies or the receiving party marries again. Critics say this places an excessive financial burden on the payer, usually the husband.

The bill  was sponsored by two female politicians from Lakeland in central Florida – both Republicans: Representative Colleen Burton and Senator Kelli Stargel.

It also specifies a presumption that the children of divorcing parents should spend equal amounts of time with both.

The bill has now reached the desk of Florida governor Rick Scott. Toni Van Pelt of the Florida National Organisation for Women called on him to veto the legislation.

She told local TV station 10 News:

“I’m concerned for the women and for the children. It’s proven over and over again that women do not receive equal pay for equal work so that is something that needs to be considered.”

She claimed that not enough was known about the possible real world effects of the legislation.

“I think that what needs to be done is more studying on how will these provisions, how will these bills actually affect real families.”

Van Pelt also questioned the childcare provisions, saying they “might not be the best interest of the child, that should be the first consideration.”

But local attorney Alan Rosenthal is in favour. He insisted:

“As far as permanent alimony, I think it’s time has come and gone. Men and women basically have an equal opportunity to join the workforce.”

He also backed the childcare changes, saying:

“If the court can’t come up with a good reason, I think mom and dad should have equal rights to see the minor children and I think it’s very important that they do have equal rights.”

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  1. spinner says:

    The same arguments are equally valid here in there UK it’s really time to implement a similar system here.

    The arguments the women use against the bill such as the alleged gender pay gap has been disproved time and time again and are way out of context to be used as an argument in this situation anyway.

    The argument that shared care may not be appropriate or in the children’s best interest in every case is true but the point of the bill is to make shared care the default and my understanding is that it doesn’t say they *have* to be shared care just that it is the optimal solution.

    So easy to take apart arguments against the ending of lifetime alimony it’s a wonder why they bother making them.

  2. D says:

    “I’m concerned for the women and for the children. It’s proven over and over again that women do not receive equal pay for equal work so that is something that needs to be considered.”

    That society still isn’t getting equal pay right is not the problem of the ex-partner. Contributions to children and alimony to a partner shouldn’t be confused or used to muddy the water.

    Absolutely both partners should be involved and make informed, free decisions on how to balance care/working arrangements fairly (which potentially can be on either side of the equation).

  3. Andy says:

    What I can only describe as a large step forward to end the “non resident parent” having to support living costs and his struggle to support himself.
    This example just shows the move to make equal gender responsibilities for the sake of the children.
    Trouble with this legal system is that it constantly decimates the father in all aspects.just look at what the court can order
    1. Life,spousal maintenance.
    2. Child Maintenance payments.
    3. Loss of pension value.
    4. Assets that have been obtained or contributed through the joint marriage..in this case the House.
    If these were dealt on equal terms the anger and frustration from the non resident parent would be a benefit to all concerned..ask any divorced father…
    If the women’s rights groups stopped bleeding about how much money they have lost, hard done by and all the other crap that they can dream up with state benefits they lie to obtain, then no wonder this country is such a mess.
    If they got off the sofa and stopped getting extra large fries because state benefits available with fathers contribution then no wonder they are bleeting, shock that having to find work is below there expectations…
    I can only laugh at the shouting by women for equal pay,in which a professional parent such as “resident parent” can earn twice or more than the “non resident parent” yet this joke system allows payments from one to another just because it can.
    I know children need support, this government want some one to pay for it hiding behind the CMS agency and the failure by previous attempts to obtain finances from the decimated parent but this failure in this system was swept under the carpet and re formed to save the benefits claimed to reduce but with the new Universal Credit it has now allowed calculated increased payments…who dreamed this one up..
    Either you will agre or not, I don’t much care, also I’m not getting into a blog war but making a statement.
    So to sum it up Cut the GOLD DIGGERS finances, equal it all,so all can benefit not just one sided.end result is children benefit and support can be given without feeling the current system has failed the fathers out there but as usual noting will change but we should all support this…rant over…

    • spinner says:

      A while back I wrote to my MP ( female ) about the issues I’d faced which as you describe are very discriminatory against men and she forwarded it onto the minister in charge ( female ) and basically she wrote back in such a dismissive way that it’s pretty clear that women just don’t get it and so I now won’t be voting for any female candidate in any election as they seemingly cannot represent my position as a man.

      • JamesB says:

        I got a step further, my MP went tot eh minister ( a woman) when I put what was wrong with MCA 1973 in a letter and how the section where says if any doubt the party with the children wins by default is being abused and should be scrapped, and he said sounds reasonable and she wrote back one word, no. Well, unfortunately it means people less likely to marry and pre nups more likely. I don’t think the attitudes you and I found can continue as driving a wedge between men and women is in no ones interest. I like to think the times they are a changing.

  4. Luke says:

    Props to Marilyn & her team for putting this story on the website.
    I think the proposed changes are sound.
    I would also say that although I agree that the presumption of shared parenting should be applied as a starting default position, for practical reasons and due to the acrimony that occurs on a divorce this is often not going to be possible.
    With regard to the rubbish that is in the following statement from the Florida National Organisation for Women:

    “It’s proven over and over again that women do not receive equal pay for equal work so that is something that needs to be considered.”

    I think the equity feminist Christina Hoff Sommers provides a fine response:

  5. Andrew says:

    If and to the extent that there is a gender wage gap that’s an issue between the State and employers – not between individual ex-spouses.

  6. D says:

    There’s been general comment by bodies/organisations on the fallacy of ‘common law marriage’ (does n’t exist, legal risks in context of absence of marriage… etc.) and there’s a need for public information on the matter.
    Yet should n’t there also be education on the risks of marriage; especially with 42% of marriages ending in divorce? The potential that whilst non-financial aspects of the marriage can be completely terminated (especially it would seem in practice, access to children), one partner can remain with financial liabilities to another for life. This includes a cut of pensions and potential any future earnings. Especially in the context of one party becoming dependent on the other financially. There isn’t really the need for consent or proper agreement from the provider party either (they will be viewed as getting constant free-child care and opportunity of endless fun from pursuing their career).
    Even more, equally for both genders the idea of non-matrimonial property/pre-nups are shaky at best. Your pre-existing property and matrimonial property are potentially divided up without your say by a court.
    There’s much noise made about the differences due to gender; things like the detrimental effect on women taking a ‘career break’ to look after children. Yet there’s a strange quietness on the conversation of ‘Honey. I’m pregnant, I’m stopping working. You’ll need that promotion and going part time is out of the question”. Which does n’t happen because it’s un-PC to say it does.

    As for the religious aspect, is that a deal for the 98% of non-church-goers in the UK?
    Perhaps people should be better informed of the consequences of ’till death do us part’? The attitude of the majority entering into marriage is that it’s wrong to ever consider what would happen on separation. That’s a rude awakening for 42% of them down the line.

    • spinner says:

      It’s in the interest of the state to off load it’s responsibilities onto others and marriage is the perfect vehicle for that so the likelihood of there being being a requirement to seek legal advice before signing this contract is nill even though that is a requirement of most other contracts.

      The best way is to educate your children so as they don’t fall for it as we obviously did.

  7. D says:

    Perhaps the cruelist deception by society is the implication that being married removes you from the possibly dying alone. That’s out of your control. Whilst those around you can help, you alone are responsible for your own happiness. On that note …

    • Luke says:

      “Yet should n’t there also be education on the risks of marriage; especially with 42% of marriages ending in divorce?”
      You’re right of course ‘D’ – the financial risks which men generally run on marriage are bonkers – but which vested interest has an upside in talking about that ?
      The Government ? The legal system ? The feminist driven media ?
      I don’t think so…

      • D says:

        Yes precisely! The risks are for any gender potentially.. People need to be aware that assets, property, future earnings all go into one pot and potentially can be divided up as a judge sees fit. It doesn’t work by default to return things to a state pre-marriage.
        The legal position is to try and come to a fair position for both parties, which will be different to the above. A lot of bad feeling might be prevented if everyone getting married understood (and by extension accepted ) this.

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