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  • Jean Siebenaler

ACTION ALERT: SB 1922 Dissolution of Marriage

All, We need you to OPPOSE a bill that will have devastating effects on many divorced women and children in Florida -- SB 1922 (Gruters) Dissolution of Marriage. It will be heard Monday, March 22 at 3:30 pm ET in the Senate Judiciary Committee. While this bill is presented as a modernization of divorce laws that apply equally to men and women, the fact of the matter is that most women still suffer more of the financial burden after a divorce, and this bill would make that worse while rewarding their wealthier ex-spouses. This is especially true for women who divorce after spending their married lives as homemakers or as stay-at-home moms. And the pandemic has only made things worse. We know that it has been a significant driver of young mothers leaving the workforce in order to care for the children at home. Loss of income. Loss of skills. Loss of seniority in promotions. Lowered ability to financially recover after a divorce. While women have broken through glass ceilings, this bill drops the floor out from underneath divorced women's feet. So here are some talking points about this bill:

  • Current law already stipulates the court may award alimony only after initially determining that one spouse actually needs alimony and the other spouse is able to pay alimony. As such, alimony may not be awarded when the requesting spouse has no actual need for support or when the other spouse has no ability to pay.

  • So even after the court determines that one spouse needs alimony and the other spouse has the ability to pay, this bill aims to reduce further the amount and length of time that financial support can be received. Where does that leave the 63 year old homemaker spouse divorced after 20 years of marriage when the alimony ends?

  • The bill would allow termination of alimony if the obligor-paying spouse retires, thus potentially leaving the supported spouse suddenly without income. In fact, there is nothing in the bill that would stop the obligor-spouse from retiring before even filing a divorce petition in order to prevent alimony payments altogether. Retirement prior to age 65 would not be unusual in the case of professions where retirement with a pension after 20 years of service is common (e.g., the military, law enforcement, firefighters).

  • The bill would be retroactive which would modify or eliminate an alimony judgment entered by a court before the statute takes effect in July of this year.

  • The bill would eliminate any consideration of adultery, even where there has been depletion of assets in financing the "fling."

  • The bill would ignore length of marriage as a consideration for awarding alimony.

  • The bill would mandate 50/50 custody of minor children which flies in the face of judicial standard to do what is best for the child.

Please contact the following Senate Judiciary Committee members before Monday and urge them to vote "NO" on this anti-woman bill. Chair: Senator Jeff Brandes (R)brandes.jeff.web@flsenate.gov (850) 487-5024

Vice Chair: Senator Audrey Gibson (D)gibson.audrey.web@flsenate.gov (850) 487-5006

Senator Dennis Baxley (R)baxley.dennis.web@flsenate.gov (850) 487-5012

Senator Jim Boyd (R)boyd.jim.web@flsenate.gov (850) 487-5021

Senator Jennifer Bradley (R)bradley.jennifer.web@flsenate.gov (850) 487-5005

Senator Doug Broxson (R)broxson.doug.web@flsenate.gov (850) 487-5001

Senator Debbie Mayfield (R)mayfield.debbie.web@flsenate.gov (850) 487-5017

Senator Tina Scott Polsky (D)polsky.tina.web@flsenate.gov (850) 487-5029

Senator Ray Wesley Rodrigues (R)rodrigues.ray.web@flsenate.gov (850) 487-5027

Senator Darryl Ervin Rouson (D)rouson.darryl.web@flsenate.gov (850) 487-5019

Senator Perry E. Thurston, Jr. (D)thurston.perry.web@flsenate.gov (850) 487-5033 Thank you, Jean Siebenaler

Legislative Chair

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