Florida Governor Ron DeSantis vetoes child support payment bill

The Florida Bar’s Family Law Section had previously urged the governor to veto it.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Governor Ron DeSantis Friday vetoed a bill that would change how the state awards spousal support in divorce cases.

SB 1796officially called the Dissolution of Marriage Bill, called on the court to end permanent child support payments.

Also, if a person paying support were to retire, they would have to file a Notice of Retirement and Intention to End Support within a specified time, except in certain circumstances.

DeSantis opposed the bill saying it would “unconstitutionally infringe rights acquired under certain pre-existing marital settlement agreements,” he wrote in a statement. official letter.

Marriages that end before the three-year mark would not qualify for spousal support.

The wording of the legislation states that “the duration of alimony cannot exceed 50% of the duration of a marriage lasting between three and ten years, 60% of the duration of a marriage lasting between 10 and 20 years, or 75% of the duration of a marriage that lasts 20 years or more.”

Critics of the bill say it could impoverish ex-spouses who were housewives and had no personal monthly income for the duration of the marriage.

The bill also stated that the court would start with the “presumption” that, in the best interest of a shared child, they spend equal time with the parents, unless the court finds it harmful to the child. Parents would also have a shared responsibility, unless otherwise specified.

Those who oppose the bill say the change does the opposite and ignores what is in the best interest of the child.

Proponents of the legislation had argued that it would have modernized state alimony law and made divorce proceedings more consistent and fair while reducing court costs.

“This bill also protects children and allows both parties to retire with dignity, while giving courts discretion to protect vulnerable support recipients,” wrote Marc Johnson of Florida Family Fairness in a March 2022 statement issued by Alia Strategic Group.

While DeSantis did not sign this bill; in March it was approved by the Senate in a vote of 21 to 16 and by the House in a vote of 74 to 42.

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Elaine R. Knight