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Proposed Bill Could Revise Alimony, Child Custody Laws in Florida

Florida State Sen. Tom Lee (R-Brandon) recently introduced Senate Bill 250, entitled “Family Law Reform.” If the bill is passed, it would present some significant changes to the child time-sharing statutes in the state and could set a guideline that divorced families have a 50/50 time-sharing split unless challenged.

This aspect of the bill has come under criticism from various state coalitions, including the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Florida Breastfeeding Clinic, which comprises clinical experts in the fields of obstetrics, pediatrics and lactation. Critics say that by presuming a 50/50 split, a breastfeeding mother’s ability to provide her child with food could be compromised — and that very young children need to spend a certain amount of time with their mothers before a more “even” time split can begin. Lawmakers argue equal time-sharing by both parents should be considered to be in the best interest of the child.

Affects on spousal support

The bill also could impact certain aspects of alimony and require courts throughout Florida to make specific findings before they issue a ruling on spousal support requests. Lawmakers have been attempting to revise the state’s alimony laws for several years, with the most recent attempt failing this past spring after much public debate. This latest bill would not represent the same sort of full overhaul the bill in the spring did, but it would be at least a first step toward possible additional reforms going forward.

To learn more about child custody, visitation and alimony laws in Florida, contact the knowledgeable Tampa Bay family law attorneys at the Law Office of K. Dean Kantaras.

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