Evan Axelbank reports
Are alimony payments for a lifetime a thing of the past?
Gov. Rick Scott is deciding.
And Beth Farrington is watching closely.
After ten years, she's still trying to dig out of her divorce. "We had a good life. We had a good lifestyle," said Farrington. "When he left the home, he took the paycheck with him." All the years she spent at home raising children she says left her without a career and with big bills: Two teens.
She wasn't awarded lifetime alimony, and says legislation that would ban it would lead potential stay-at-home parents to say it's not worth the risk. "In this country, we're all apple pie and motherhood, but in reality, we don't support it," said Farrington. The bill would tie the maximum length of alimony to the amount of time a couple was married for.
It would make it half.
If a couple was married for ten years, the maximum amount of alimony would be five. "I don't think, anyone can look in the mirror and say I need support for the rest of my life," said Debbie Leff Israel of Florida Alimony Reform.
She helped write the legislation that was eventually introduced by Melbourne Republican, Ritch Workman.
She's divorced too, and argues the bill would clamp down on lawyers who are eager to collect on drawn out legal battles over lengthy alimony payments. "When people fight, they spend a lot of money on attorney's fees and drain the family assets," said Israel. The bill was passed with mostly Republican support.
But Gov. Scott won't say if he'll sign it.
"He is reviewing the legislation," said a spokesman. "I would like him to stop and ask the questions. What are our values? How do we care for the children who get lost in the shuffle?" said Farrington.