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Florida Could Axe 'Permanent Alimony'

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Legislation that would revamp Florida’s alimony laws, including eliminating what is known as permanent alimony, is ready for consideration by the full House of Representatives.

Passing its final committee stop Tuesday, the bill pits many homemakers against their former spouses -- who claim they are forced to continue working long past retirement age so they can afford to make required monthly payments to their exes.

Also included is a controversial child-sharing component that would require judges to begin with a presumption that children should split their time equally between parents.

Republican Representative Anthony Rodriguez is the bill sponsor.

“Mom and Dad are equally good parents and deserve to equally partake in their children’s lives,” said Rodriguez. “It basically says that, going into court, Mom and Dad each get 50 percent of the child’s time, and that would be the starting point.”

Opponents of the measure, including Democratic Representative Ben Diamond, feel judges should be given more say in child-sharing.

“We are creating situations where it sort of is a one-size-fits-all approach to the child-sharing issue, as opposed to allowing the court to fashion a time-sharing plan that is in the best interests of the child,” Diamond said.

Similar legislation in the Florida Senate has one more committee stop, before considered by the full chamber.