No More Permanent Alimony in Florida?
The traditional idea that post-divorce alimony payments should last “until death do us part” may be on its deathbed (Washington Post). Four other states have already abolished permanent alimony. Last year (2013) Representation Ritc Workman introduced a bill to end permanent alimony in Florida. The bill and its counterpart worked its way through both the Florida House and Senate and wound up on Governor Rick Scott’s desk. The Governor vetoed it; but be assured that the effort to end permanent alimony will be on the 2014 Legislative agenda.
Those who oppose permanent alimony argue that 21st century realities are very different:
- Women outnumber men in the workforce (2010)
- Across the economy, women’s wages have increased from 62% of men’s wages in 1979 to 81% in 2010
- The earnings difference between women and men also varies with age, with younger women more closely approaching pay equity than older women
- Between 2000 and 2005, young women in their twenties earned more than their male counterparts in some large urban centers, including Dallas (120%), New York (117%), Chicago, Boston, and Minneapolis
- It is not uncommon, especially in light of the changes in the kinds of jobs required by our new global economy, for people in all circumstances, not just divorces, to retrain and reinvent themselves well into their forties, fifties, and even later
- Among young people who have never had a child, women’s earnings approach 98 percent of men’s. Since there have been substantial increases in timesharing with children by fathers in Florida, additonal income opportunities, diminishing the ‘motherhood penalty in wages’ may well be anticipated for women and children.
- Also, men and women are living -- and living well -- decades longer than they did in the 20th century. Final data for 2003 show that life expectancy at birth for the total population has reached an all-time American high level, 77.5 years, up from 49.2 years at the turn of the 20th century. Another study found that overall life expectancy at birth in the United States is 78.2 years, for men is 75.6 years, and for women is 80.8 years. (2005-2010) Imagine being required to pay permanent alimony for thirty years for a marriage of just seventeen years.
- Marriage rates are declining. In 1960, 72% of all adults’ ages 18 and older were married; today just 51% are. If current trends continue, the share of adults who are currently married will drop to below half within a few years. Other adult living arrangements, including cohabitation, single-person households and single parenthood, have all grown more prevalent in recent decades.
Lawmakers in Florida and throughout the United States are slowly beginning to reassess whether the current laws governing alimony are equitable in light of the progress women have made in society in general and the lengthening of life expectancy.
For more information about the many kinds of alimony that can be awarded in Florida go to catherinewreal.com
Next Blog: Organizations Supporting The Elimination Of Permanent Alimony In Florida