HB 231 is slated to go next to the House Judiciary Committee. A similar bill (SB 718) was filed last week in the Senate. Alimony payments can be required of men or women involved in divorces.
Wednesday’s vote came after testimony from people who offered far-different views about whether the alimony system needs to be overhauled.
As an example, Deerfield Beach resident Guido Albarran told the subcommittee that 50 percent of his salary goes to his ex-wife. He said it is unfair to require alimony payments decades after divorces occur, at one point likening such situations to "financial enslavement."
On the other side were people such as Longwood resident Ann Dwyer, who said she was married for more than 20 years and did not work outside the home as her then-husband built his career. She received permanent alimony and, while she was able to later find a job, said the payments from her ex-husband have allowed her to stay in her home and meet other expenses.
The bill would eliminate the concept of permanent alimony, though Workman said judges would have the discretion to extend what is called "durational" alimony for long periods of time if necessary.
The bill says such durational alimony would be limited to 50 percent of the length of the marriage, unless one of the divorcing spouses could show by "clear and convincing evidence that exceptional circumstances justify the need for a longer award of alimony."