Florida lawmaker wants to make it tougher to get alimony



MELBOURNE, Fla. - Florida Rep. Ritch Workman from Melbourne is pushing a bill that would make it more difficult to get alimony.

Critics are saying the proposal would devastate some single parents and even reverse some court decisions.

Brian Reynolds was married for less than ten years. He said he got stuck making lifelong alimony payments, and that's devastating for him.

"She has, since we got divorced, gotten her real estate license so she's a licensed realtor," said Reynolds. "I've gone bankrupt. My house is in foreclosure. It's a huge financial burden."

He's just one example of the cases Alan Frisher said he is fighting for.

Frisher's group, Florida Alimony Reform, is behind a bill that's gaining ground in Tallahassee. It puts an end to permanent alimony. In many cases it limits how long spouses get alimony to half the length of their marriage.

"The current laws are archaic and they do not work for current economic conditions, so they have to be changed," said Frisher.

The law would even allow the courts to reverse cases already on the books, like Ann Dwyer's.

Dwyer said she spent her 21-year marriage at home, raising her children.

After the divorce, and at age 43, she went back to school and got a job, but she said didn't have the time to accrue what her husband has.

"The alimony and Social Security and my tiny IRA have allowed me to stay in my family home," said Dwyer.

But that could change, if the bill passes and her permanent alimony is stripped away.

"I'd have to give up this house, and I'd be on food stamps at the very least," said Dwyer. "It's like we're being penalized for staying home."

The bill overwhelmingly passed its first Florida House subcommittee Wednesday.

Last year a similar bill passed the House, but died in the Senate.