One bullet dodged, but the cannon is still pointed at us as the entitlement attitude rears its ugly head.
For those of you who did not tune in to watch the Senate Judiciary meeting, you missed a nail biting, frustrating, head shaking, time-limiting vote that literally went down to the last minute to give us a 6-4 win in favor of Senator Stargel’s bill, SB 668. Alimony reform lives yet another day despite controversial and oftentimes emotional testimony from many women.
Diaz de la Portilla’s friendly amendment to the bill was accepted amid objections from the many members of NOW (National Organization of Women). I still am shaking my head over this one because his amendment further clarified that, if the spouse seeking alimony in a marriage of at least 20 years refrained from working during that time period and now faces dramatically reduced opportunities to advance his or her career, the judge may equalize the incomes of the obligee and obligor until the obligor’s retirement.
Once again I reiterate that the NOW folk must define whether the independence that they describe is one word “independence” or two words “in dependence.” Although Senator de la Portilla ultimately voted ‘no’ on our bill (I expected as much), at least he allowed for the time certain vote that enabled it to pass through his committee. That was a huge win for us.
Darren Soto‘s amendment that called for a blue ribbon commission to be formed in order to establish the need for alimony reform, was nothing more than an attempt to appease his democratic constituents and colleagues. Considering that Senator Soto was a co-sponsor of our bill a few years ago, when it was less established (and less vetted out than it is today), it appears that his efforts were an attempt to water down the bill rather than continue to fight a controversial though necessary reform. It is a shame that he appears to have weakened his position despite prior support and we can only hope that he will eventually feel comfortable engaging in the fight in the future. Luckily, calmer, more rational heads prevailed and this amendment was voted down by the majority of Senators on the committee.
But even with this ‘win’ in passing the Judiciary Committee we still have strong head winds in front of us. As of now, the House and Senate bills are very different. The House bill has removed all time-sharing language while the Senate bill is still hoping to include it. If you will recall, the time sharing language is the most controversial part and was included originally by Senator Lee. While Senator Lee has created SB 250, a stand-alone bill that just relates to equal time sharing, he would still prefer to incorporate it into our alimony reform bill. This is unacceptable to Ritch Workman, the House Rules Chairman and our original sponsor of our bill, because according to Ritch, “the House’s version is a purely alimony-related bill. It is not germane to any other family law issues such as time sharing,” Our organization stands behind Representative Workman on this issue.
Ladies and Gentlemen, the cannon that I mentioned in my first line has now been fully exposed. In order to achieve alimony reform, real alimony reform…we must keep on writing and calling to Senator Lee and Senator Stargel asking them to remove time sharing language from the Senate version of our alimony reform bill. Ultimately the bills need to match each other and the time sharing provision puts that at risk.
I can’t make it any clearer than that.
Please call and write to Senator Lee and Senator Stargel now asking them to remove the time sharing language from SB 668 in order to allow it to mirror the House version. Ask Senator Lee to allow his SB 250 bill to be the stand-alone bill that allows for time sharing. We need to convince Senator Lee that alimony reform is what is needed, and while equal time sharing is important, it should not be a part of alimony reform if it will stop reform from occurring.
Now, more than ever, we need your commitment to get involved with your time and financial help. We need to continue making the trek to Tallahassee for the next two committee meetings and to keep informing our legislators that there is a critical need for alimony reform, despite the entitlement attitude that seems to be prevalent in our society.
HERE’S HOW TO WRITE THE COMMITTEE MEMBERS:
Time is critical.
Click below on the Judicial Committee Members email address and send them your thoughts.
In the Subject Line put: In Support of SB 668
Honorable Senator ___________
Please support SB 668. Current alimony laws penalize the workers of Florida and reward the non-workers. There are more women paying permanent alimony than ever before. This is a worker vs. non-worker issue, not a man/woman, rich/poor, young/old, black/white or Republican/Democrat issue. With 50% of marriages ending in divorce, we need a more equitable and predictable outcome for both parties.
Thank you for supporting SB 668.
Your name and address
Please write and call the last two committees urging the passing of SB 668. Also write or call specifically Senator Lee and Senator Stargel asking to have time sharing removed from SB 668 since it is already in Senator Lee’s bill, SB 250. Emails: Stargel.firstname.lastname@example.orgLee.Tom@flsenate.gov
Please take time TODAY to write the Senators on the committees yet to hear SB 668.
To write to each member, click on their email below.
Your emails, phone calls, letters and visits with these senators are critical to achieving alimony reform in 2016.If you’ve never written to a legislator now is the time to begin.
To access each member, click on their name below and go to their Senate web page. Under their photo is a tab that says “Email this Senator”. Underneath that is their mailing address and telephone number.
TO SEND AN EMAIL
In the Subject Line write: In Support of SB 668
Please keep your letter brief. As important as your story is to you, the Senators and their staff do not have the time to read every long letter.There are tens of thousands of inequitable outcomes from Florida divorces.
Another Letter Idea:
Open your letter with three concise sentences: for example:
‘I am a __ year old man/woman paying __% of my salary to my ex spouse for __ years for a __ year marriage.He/she has a business degree/college education/etc. and has not had to work because I must support him/her. IT IS TIME FOR ALIMONY REFORM!
(Be short, factual, and get to the point.)
Please vote in support of SB 668.
TO PHONE THEM
On their websites you will also see their telephone numbers. If you call rather than email, we suggest that IN ADVANCE, you write out what you would like to say so that it is succinct and to the point.
TO SEND A POSTAL LETTER
Follow the above instructions for sending an email. In the lower left corner on the outside of your envelope, write IN SUPPORT OF SB 668
Appropriations Subcommittee on Criminal and Civil Justice
THANK YOU FOR TAKING THE TIME TO WRITE THESE SENATORS. THEY HOLD YOUR FUTURE IN THEIR HANDS!
HOW CAN YOU HELP?
Lobbyists, websites, travel, and other overhead all cost money. The end of this years long fight is within grasp. Please do what you can to help us get to the finish line. Everything helps.
We all have an important part to play in fixing our woefully outdated family court laws in Florida. We are up against an incredibly well funded special interest group that wants to keep things exactly the way they are. We need everyone on board if we are going to finally win for Florida’s families in 2016!
Please help us to help you by contributing to support this important cause!
Fighting to preserve Parent–Child relationships to improve the lives of children and strengthen society by protecting t he child’s right to the love and care of both parents after separation/divorce.
Dedicated to the proposition that children are best served by having unfettered EQUAL access to BOTH parents and to the ...proposition that fathers are indispensable.
Improve the lives of children and strengthen society by protecting the child’s right to the love and care of both parents after separation or divorce. We seek better lives for children through family court reform!!
It's about the human rights of children with particular attention to the rights of special protection and care afforded to the young, including their right to association with both biological parents.
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