Best Interests of . . . ? A Look into the Proposed Divorce Bill and Its Potential Impact on Family-Law Attorneys and Their Clients

By Gina Villar

Currently sitting on Governor Rick Scott’s desk is a bill which could drastically change the divorce laws in Florida. Bill 668, authored by Sen. Kelli Stargel and Sen. Tom Lee, primarily seeks to alter the way the courts determine both alimony and timesharing (which ultimately affects child support as well).

First, the bill eliminates the numerous types of alimony, most significant, permanent alimony, and instead replaces it with two formulas designated to determine the amount of alimony and the length of time alimony will be awarded. The proposed “presumptive alimony amount range” gives a low and high end based on the number of years of marriage multiplied by either .015 or .020, representing the low and high ends, respectfully. Those numbers are then multiplied by the difference between the monthly gross incomes of the parties. The proposed “presumptive alimony duration range” gives a low end (.25 x years of marriage) and a high end (.75 x years of marriage) to determine the length of time a spouse is entitled to receive alimony. Math aside, the bill makes clear that permanent alimony, which has long been given to the receiving spouse for the remainder of his or her life, is abolished.

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Obstacles faced by young female attorneys

By: Leslie R. Pollack and Christina M. Himmel

This is 2016. It is a year where we could witness Hillary Clinton become the first female President of the United States. It is a time where women have ostensibly shattered whatever glass ceiling may have existed in the past. Yet, despite the perceived progress for women, there are still obstacles to overcome, including work-life balance.

In honor of International Women’s Day, celebrated annually in March, it seems an appropriate time to reflect on issues that impact working women—and in particular, young women attorneys.

For young women lawyers, navigating through the ever-changing legal world can be challenging for a multitude of reasons. Inequality in pay, respect, and advancement are among the issues confronting young women lawyers. According to a recent survey conducted by the Young Lawyers Division of the Florida Bar, 43% of young women attorneys have experienced gender bias. One of the survey participants said that she left a job because she “was told by the managing partner that [she] did not have to worry about making money and moving ahead because [she] would get married one day and will not have to worry about living expenses.” More than a quarter of those surveyed reported that they resigned from a position due to lack of advancement, employer insensitivity, and lack of work-life balance.

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