The traditional idea that post-divorce
alimony payments should last “until death do us part” may be on its
deathbed (Washington Post). Four other states have already abolished permanent
alimony. Last year (2013) Representation Ritc Workman introduced a bill
to end permanent alimony in Florida. The bill and its counterpart worked
its way through both the Florida House and Senate and wound up on Governor
Rick Scott’s desk. The Governor vetoed it; but be assured that the
effort to end permanent alimony will be on the 2014 Legislative agenda.
Those who oppose permanent alimony argue that 21st century realities are
- Women outnumber men in the workforce (2010)
- Across the economy, women’s wages have increased from 62% of men’s
wages in 1979 to 81% in 2010
- The earnings difference between women and men also varies with age, with
younger women more closely approaching pay equity than older women
- Between 2000 and 2005, young women in their twenties earned more than their
male counterparts in some large urban centers, including Dallas (120%),
New York (117%), Chicago, Boston, and Minneapolis
It is not uncommon, especially in light of the changes in the kinds of
jobs required by our new global economy, for people in all circumstances, not just
divorces, to retrain and reinvent themselves well into their forties, fifties,
and even later
- Among young people who have never had a child, women’s earnings approach
98 percent of men’s. Since there have been substantial increases
in timesharing with children by fathers in Florida, additonal income opportunities,
diminishing the ‘motherhood penalty in wages’ may well be
anticipated for women and children.
- Also, men and women are living -- and living well -- decades longer than
they did in the 20th century. Final data for 2003 show that life expectancy
at birth for the total population has reached an all-time American high
level, 77.5 years, up from 49.2 years at the turn of the 20th century.
Another study found that overall life expectancy at birth in the United
States is 78.2 years, for men is 75.6 years, and for women is 80.8 years.
(2005-2010) Imagine being required to pay permanent alimony for thirty
years for a marriage of just seventeen years.
- Marriage rates are declining. In 1960, 72% of all adults’ ages 18
and older were married; today just 51% are. If current trends continue,
the share of adults who are currently married will drop to below half
within a few years. Other adult living arrangements, including cohabitation,
single-person households and single parenthood, have all grown more prevalent
in recent decades.
Lawmakers in Florida and throughout the United States are slowly beginning
to reassess whether the current laws governing alimony are equitable in
light of the progress women have made in society in general and the lengthening
of life expectancy.
For more information about the many kinds of alimony that can be awarded
in Florida go to
Next Blog: Organizations Supporting The Elimination Of Permanent Alimony