Governor Scott's vetoes alimony bill; divorced couples are stuck paying alimony forever

Bill would limit alimony in long term marriages

TAMPA - It looked like Florida was on the verge of putting an end to what's called permanent alimony, but Governor Rick Scott disagreed with the bill that would have changed the system.

At the last minute on Wednesday, Governor Scott vetoed the so-called alimony bill. It would have cut permanent alimony to half the length of a marriage.

"I was shocked. Shocked and just horrified," said Tarie MacMillan, who has been paying alimony to her ex-husband for the past 13 years.

If this bill would have passed the governor's desk, she likely would have been able to stop paying alimony this summer.

"It's just kind of preposterous to think I get up and go to work everyday and yet 65 percent of what I make goes to somebody who chooses not to work," she said.

MacMillan runs a successful business selling jewelry.

When she divorced, a judge ordered her -- who made significantly more than him -- to pay permanent alimony.

"It's until I die or he dies," she said.

Governor Scott's veto surprised many, since the bill passed overwhelmingly in the house and senate.

"I had very disappointed and very happy clients this morning," said Amy Singer, a family law attorney who represents clients on both ends of the deal.

She works for the Allen Dell law firm in Tampa.

She believes there is a need for alimony guidelines, but did not like the way this bill was written -- especially how it could retroactively change spousal agreements.

Still, she thinks the system needs to be fixed.

"There are cases where someone has gotten saddled with an alimony obligation and feel like they can never retire because of it," she said.

That's the case for 62-year-old MacMillan, who said she has no choice but to work until the day she dies.

"How could they let this happen?" She said.

She plans to keep fighting for reform.

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