TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/NSF) — Alimony may no longer be permanent in Florida if a bill that passed the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday becomes law.

Sponsored by Sen. Miguel Diaz de la Portilla, R-Miami, the measure (SB 748) would limit the amount and duration of alimony payments.

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Permanent alimony would end, but the bill would allow long-term alimony for marriages of 20 years or more.

Payments would be slashed to one-fifth of the payer’s average monthly income over the previous three years, and the court would be required to reduce or end an alimony award should the recipient maintain a joint household with another person for at least three months.

Public comment was intense and personal, with speakers detailing how their lives had been circumscribed by decades of payments. Judges also came in for their share of criticism.

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“With no-fault divorce and lifetime alimony, it’s not safe for anyone to get married and ignite the wrath of the state’s judicial system,” said Stuart resident R.C. Lindsey, chairman of the Alliance for Freedom from Alimony, who said he had raised his five daughters “that their mother deserted.”

The bill would also end alimony when the payer reaches full retirement age.

Supported by the Family Law Section of the Florida Bar, it passed unanimously and has two more committee stops in the Senate, but has yet to move in the House.

“The News Service of Florida contributed to this report.”

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