Governor Rick Scott recently vetoed a proposed major overhaul of alimony law.1 The law would have also allowed for a premise of equal time-sharing of child custody matters. Senator Tom Lee of Brandon expressed his disappointment. Representative Ritch Workman said that the decision to merge alimony and child custody provisions in one bill was, in hindsight, the wrong strategy. Governor Scott had this to say:
“As a husband, father and grandfather, I understand the importance of family and the sensitivity and passion that comes with the subject of family law. As such, we should be judicious and carefully consider the long-term and real-life repercussions on Florida families.”
He said he was troubled by a provision in the bill that would require judges to begin divorce proceedings with a premise that both parents are entitled to approximately equal time with their children. The Governor grew up in Illinois. His parents were divorced when he was a baby. He recently revealed that his daughter was going through a divorce.
Robert Doyel, a retired circuit judge in Polk County had this to say:
“. . . There are all kinds of practical implications that the theoretical idea of 50-50 custody just doesn’t take into account.”
It would appear that alimony reform would have happened if it were not tied to the premise of 50-50 time-sharing. We shall see if in the future alimony and child time-sharing issues will be separated in proposed legislation.
1 Bousquet, S. “Child custody seals veto.” Tampa Bay Times. April 16, 2016.