Florida House Bill 549 and Florida Senate Bill 748: Florida’s New Proposed Alimony Laws

States throughout the nation are revisiting their Alimony Laws and Florida is no different. Late last year, Florida Representative Ritch Workman and Senator Diaz de la Portilla filed similar bills that would change how alimony is calculated. Representative Workman filed Bill 549 and Senator Portilla filed Bill 748. See:

Those who oppose the Bill

Critics of the new piece of legislation stated that the new bill might pigeonhole women and men into relationships they do not want to be in anymore, because they may not be able to financially support themselves, thereby possibly having to stay in an unhealthy marriage. Currently, if there is a need for alimony and the other party can pay alimony, than alimony may be granted. In the current form, the bill would end permanent alimony; however, one can still receive payments for a certain time period.

Those who support the Bill

Supporters, such as the Florida Alimony Reform Organization, support the new legislation                                                                             ( Supporters of the bill argue that it is not fair for a person to pay alimony for the rest of that person’s life and there has to be some point of “end time,” similar to child support. Currently, child support payments generally end at the age of 18 or 19, depending on high school graduation.

My Thoughts

I do believe that there should be some change to the Alimony Laws on the books, however, how far that change should go is the question. Currently there is language in the SB 748 that states:


The court must reduce or terminate an award of alimony if it determines upon specific written findings by the court that since               the granting of a divorce and the award of alimony a supportive relationship has existed between the obligee and a                                 person with whom the obligee resides.

This proposed portion of the law makes sense if a party moves on with his or her life, and supports that the financial support from the ex-spouse should change as well. However, supportive relationship is defined a

A person is deemed to maintain a supportive relationship when he or she shares a primary residence together with or without            another person for a period of at least 3 continuous months in a common household.

I do not know if 3 months is enough time to modify or terminate alimony and establish that a supportive relationship has been established. However, the SB 748 states:

If an alimony award has been modified to terminate due to a supportive relationship and that supportive relationship does not             produce a marriage, the obligee is not  entitled to reinstatement of alimony from the obligor.

In the end, either side, supporters or non-supporters, will have valid arguments and finding that happy medium will be key; however, the best thing both parties should do before getting married to plan ahead for such concerns is enter and sign a PRENUPITAL AGREEMENT.




Contested Divorce- We Can't Agree!!!

What is a contested divorce? In a Contested Divorce, one of the parties is a Petitioner and one of the parties is a Respondent. In a contested divorce the parties have not reached an agreement as to the division of their property, responsibility for marital debts, or issues involving the children.

What Happens?

After the proper pleadings and other documentation are filed with the court and served upon each party the court will generally send the parties to mediation. Mediation is where both parties, along with their counsels, sit down with a third party, the mediator, and try to reach an agreement. The great thing about mediation is both parties have control over the process and can make decisions they feel comfortable with.

Mediation is a Bust

If a compromise is not reached in mediation then any issues that are left unresolved will be taken in front of a judge and a determination will be made. Both parties will be able to call witnesses, experts, certified divorce analysts, and other individuals to prove their case. After all of the evidence is heard, the judge will make a decision on what needs to happen for every issue that is contested.

Arrested? Call Your Bail Bondsman*


Bail Bondsman to the Rescue

Everyone generally knows the phrase after you are arrested call your attorney. However, a few weeks I was at a gathering where veteran judges were speaking and there was an interesting quote by one of the judges; it went something along the lines of, “if you are ever arrested call your bail bondsman because they will post the money to get you out of jail and that’s what counts.”

When this was said I recognized that he had a valid point because after you speak to a client or his family member after an arrest, your initial goal is simply to get the client out of jail and proceed from that point. For many people this concept of getting a bond to get out of jail is something they can only relate to via television. (See: )


When a defendant is charged with an offense the court generally sets a bail bond. (There are some charges where there is no bond until there is a first appearance.) The purpose of the bail bond is twofold. First, it assures the court that the defendant will come back to court for future court dates. Secondly, it allows the accused the freedom to continue his life with limited interruptions until the date of the trial.

Types of Bonds: Cash/Surety

There are generally two types of bonds: a cash bond and a surety bond. A cash bond is the amount that is imposed by the judge. It can be a predetermined amount if there was a bench warrant and the defendant was picked up, or the cash bond amount can be determined after the arrest or at first appearance. After the defendant’s case is finished and any fines or payments that need to be paid come out of the cash bond, the remaining money goes back to the defendant.

A surety bond is a written guarantee by a bond company. Here is an example of one from Moncrief Bail Bonds: (  A surety bond ensures the defendant will appear at all court dates. A surety bond is an independent agreement between the defendant and the bonding company. Basically, the bonding company is providing the court with an “insurance policy” that the defendant will appear in court and is then liable for the full amount of the bond if the defendant does not appear. (see for an example of when a defendant decided not to show up; however, there are no “bountyhunters”  under Florida Statute 648.30 subsection section 2) If the defendant does not show up for court the problems he will face compounds because the bonding company is on the losing end.


Getting arrested is no fun but the ability to bail oneself out and regain some sense of freedom before an actual trial date can be a little weight off his shoulder.