As a permanent alimony payor, I am hopeful that HB843/SB1832 will pass this legislative session. I married at a young age to a man who had a poor work ethic and during the 22 years of marriage, I worked 2 jobs in addition to my role as the head of the household and mother to our 3 children. I worked my way through nursing school so that I could provide for our children because it became apparent that my ex was not reliable. He could never hold a stable job, even within his own family’s business. Instead, he frequently utilized the ‘system’ by filing for unemployment. It must be understood that at no time did I enter into an agreement with my spouse that I would be the sole breadwinner and that he could be the ‘stay-at-home’ Dad. Additionally, my ex engaged in activities outside of the marriage and once confronted, moved 2 states away leaving me and the children to fend for ourselves. This is not a stable individual and I had a responsibility as a parent to see that my children were no longer exposed to this type of behavior. I filed for divorce knowing that my children deserved better. My spouse abandoned our home again and emptied our bank accounts, leaving myself and our kids to fend for ourselves.
Despite this, I continued to do what was right by my children and make sure we survived. Luckily, I have some outstanding parents and a loving church, who made sure our needs were met.
Divorce is hard regardless of how it comes about. I attempted to do the right thing by my marriage through marital counseling. My ex was not committed and instead enjoyed extending his abuse through the legal system during our divorce by extracting the finite resources from my household to benefit his own. My ex has a bachelor’s degree, a degree more advanced than mine, but in court was awarded
permanent alimony amounting to half of my pay because I was the primary breadwinner and we were married for 22 years.
As I noted before, divorce is hard. It’s hard on all parties involved no matter what the circumstances are. Frankly, I would have never imagined the hardship I was about to endure and if I would have known I may have not proceeded with the divorce despite the abuse. It is devastating to think that no matter what advances I make as an individual in my own career, I will not realize a better standard of living
much less be able to retire because I am stuck paying permanent alimony. Some argue that I could simply go back to court to get my settlement modified, but anyone who has gone through this process knows that modification is an expensive option that gives no guarantees.
It is clear that Florida’s alimony laws are broken. It is my hope that reform will become a reality through the passage of HB 843/SB 1832.
My contribution to the common good involves teaching American language and culture to high school students and adults in lovely Marion County since 2001. I have also volunteered at Meadowbrook Church, trained new teachers, and taught Bible lessons in family matters and financial principles. My commitment of selfless service to the community is certainly a demonstration of what kind of mother and wife I must have been during the thirty years of marriage I endured living with an irresponsible, abusive man whom I have been supporting financially since the day I was forced to marry him at the tender age of fourteen due to an unwanted pregnancy.
In 2011, a Christian counselor recommended by the Focus on the family Ministries who was counseling us advised me that my husband was abusing me emotionally, financially, and psychologically. In fact, he was impressed by my tolerance and emotional stability despite so many years of suffering these uncommon negative circumstances. It was shortly after this that the abuse from the man turned deeply disturbing (he yelled all kinds of morbid insults to me and my daughter, he even threatened to “use his permit gun”-I spent Memorial Day at the Ocala Women’s Center for Violence Victims). I knew right then and there that I had to do something to protect myself, so I went to see a lawyer about filing for divorce in 2012. This time I was determined; as determined as I was when I decided to go back to school to get a teaching degree to support myself and my children. This man barely supported the family, instead, he continually wasted our money and lost the family assets; he never held a job for more than a year, instead, he made me ask for public assistance which to me was the lowest, most indignant situation of my life. Ironically, his lawyer asked for permanent alimony at mediation and he got it! Thus far, I have paid this man over $41,000-the money I need to save for emergencies, pay my mortgage, plan for retirement, and fund my goal of going back to graduate school. Isn’t it ironic that Alimony Law is actually perpetuating this cycle of dependency and abuse? Even if a divorce ends civil and amicably, what obligation does either one of the parties have to another grown up man or woman? Only children should be entitled to financial support, however, even children don’t get PERMANENT support!
Now, here is the most indignant portion of American History I don’t dare to teach my students: “There’s a law in Florida which protects the dishonest, the idle, and in some cases, the abuser who chooses to live off of the hard work of a responsible, independent citizen. Alimony Law contradicts the logical principles of freedom and independence.”
Therefore, I plead for the elimination of such incongruent, unreasonable law. I beg your support to eliminating alimony in our great State of Florida.
Elisa Del Rey
I am a 59 year old male, and was terminated from Employment in early 2018. I filed for a modification since I lost my job, and have no income other than assets to live on. A few months after losing my job, I was diagnosed with a brain tumor, and had it removed. Notwithstanding, I permanently lost hearing in my left ear, along with tinnitus. I am recovering as it takes about one year for the brain to fully heel, and hearing is challenging.
It is a forgone conclusion that I will never make an executive salary in North Palm Beach again, and a significant modification is in order. Notwithstanding the above, it took 5 months to serve my former wife as she was traveling at her leisure and avoiding me to collect her 6k monthly alimony. Then come to find out she was making rental income from her properties, and chose not to work for the 11 years to live off passive income. Although, she has a RE brokers license and rents her properties, she claims she is depressed and cannot work. She knows how to work the system! Accordingly, I have had to spend my retirement money on hiring a forensic accountant, vocational expert, Psychiatrist, and family lawyer to fight this process.
This law is draconian, inequitable and absolutely insane. Alimony reform is a must as the law as written rewards abusers of the system, and penalizes working spouses to the point of madness. I believe in rehabilitate alimony but not permanent. My previous employer provided me with 5 months severance after 22 years of loyal service. Permanent business income or permanent employment does not exist. How is it equitable, fair and just to pay permanent alimony and require the former spouse to spend wasteful hard earned savings to fight the process while the other spouse controls the system by citing contempt and jail time if you don’t comply.
This is insane. This is nothing more than a lotto ticket or retirement plan to a spouse that should work like the rest of us to put food on the table and a roof over our head instead of traveling or living a life of leisure. They would certainly do just that without permanent Alimony.
My husband was married in the state of Florida for 12 years. His marriage had no children. His ex-wife is an educated healthy woman and has been receiving alimony for over 14 years with no end in sight.
This alimony burden influenced the decision for my husband and I to never have children. We would never be able to retire having children in addition to this permanent alimony burden.
Permanent alimony ruins the payer's life. Think about the following:
1. Once a child turns 18, the parent(s) are no longer financially responsible for the child. So why is someone permanently financially responsible for an ex-spouse? Especially when no children were produced in the marriage.
2. How can someone be forced to pay alimony for longer than the marriage lasted?
3. How can a payer be expected to retire when burdened with this lifetime financial obligation?
4. What incentive does a spouse receiving permanent alimony have to improve himself/herself?
Please, please.... stop the madness. Permanent alimony is wrong. With women's equal rights, archaic laws enforcing permanent alimony needs to end. These types of laws should have ended 30 years ago....
Please support alimony reform. Specifically life time alimony as it is a lifetime sentence that affects my quality of life, my ability to retire at a reasonable age and as fifth generation owner of our family owned business it affects my ability to pass my business on to the sixth generation.
Just think about a court order that requires a person to pay another person $9,750.00 every month until death of one of the parties. I am fifty eight years old, normally work an average sixty hours a week and cannot see retirement anytime soon because I have to pay my ex-wife $9,750.00 every month, $117,000.00 a year. I have been paying this since June of 2009. I have to pay her every month until she dies, I die or she remarries. I have been given a life time sentence.
My ex-wife has a college degree from FSU, works maybe ten hours a week at Pottery Barn and lives in Sawgrass Country Club in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fl. She plays on the country club tennis team. She is not disabled in any way.
In addition to alimony I had to pay her half of my 401k and pay her for half of the equity I had in everything we owned. I have no problem with that. The point is that I have paid my ex-wife over two million dollars since our divorce in 2009, enough to live comfortable from for the rest of her life. Our sons who are 28 and 26 years old work for me in our family business and are self-supported. They do not depend on their mother for any financial support.
Life time alimony does nothing to encourage the dependent ex-spouse to be a productive person. In fact it does just the opposite. It encourages the dependent spouse to depend on the supporting ex-spouse. A reasonable amount of alimony for a reasonable amount of time seems like a more fair way ensure that both parties survive a divorce with minimal damage. Mandatory life time alimony is in no way fair the supporting ex-spouse.
I was divorced in 2010 in Palm Beach County. When I initially started paying alimony I was forced to foreclose on my home since I was left with two rental properties that were upside down, a business loan that my ex defaulted on, all the carrying costs of preparing my home for sale, and of course, providing for my children. I could not make ends meet without defaulting on my mortgage for the marital home.
Over the past seven years I have lived below my means by renting apartments and driving old cars in order to care for my children and prepare myself for federally mandated retirement at sixty-five years old. At the same time my ex has lived with, and been supported by, two wealthy men of means. I spent twenty thousand dollars in an unsuccessful attempt to terminate the alimony because of a supportive relationship with a wealthy Palm Beach man. Case ended when the paramour suddenly passed away. Now, three years later, she is living with and being supported by another man. Once again I am contemplating another expensive court battle. She is solely and jointly titled on two luxury brand vehicles with NO evidence of having paid for either. All the while, she has not been working; in fact, at fifty-three years old she tells my children that she is retired. I am working at my capacity and she's retired!
A system that grants a forty-six year old college educated woman with two professional licenses and, at the time, successfully running her own small business, permanent alimony is too unjust to digest! She has half of my company retirement plan in addition to a portion of my military retirement and I will be forced to continue paying her during my retirement??!! My ex is the poster child for why permanent alimony is so unjust. The inability for any type of healing has been disastrous for my children. Please get the laws changed!