Major News – No Alimony Reform Possible in 2014

Message from Alan Frisher, President: 

Alan Frisher
Alan Frisher,
FLR President


Dear Family Law Reform (FLR) Members:

Representative Ritch Workman spoke with me today to give me the bad news.  With a heavy heart and a frustration that is beyond words, I must inform you that he and Senator Kelli Stargel have decided not to file an alimony reform bill this upcoming legislative session.

As it was explained to me, the sad reality of politics is that sometimes great legislation gets lost and simply doesn’t see the light of day.  For us, at least for this upcoming legislative session, we were the unfortunate victims of election year politics.

While understanding the reality of our State politics doesn’t necessarily make things better, it may, however, allow you to see the larger picture.  Please allow me to explain it to you as it was explained to me.  State politics is a dicey business at best.  It is rife with power and control and many people in politics want to preserve their authority and positions.  Sometimes, at the highest levels, that reality gets in the way of doing what may ultimately be right for our citizens.

Our proposed bill was good law.  It protected our citizens; men, women, and families.  It addressed inconsistencies in the law and corrected them.  It would have enabled more predictability in the law from one county to the next and would have helped thousands of families throughout our State with practical, affordable solutions to current problems surrounding alimony and other issues of family law.   The Family Section of the Florida Bar was simply protecting their own pocketbooks by opposing our proposal and/or coming up with their own self-serving alternative agenda.  Unfortunately, no matter how much right was (and is) on our side, we were assured of battling with the Family Section in, what would have been perceived as a very controversial bill at a time when controversy is not what our Governor needs or wants.

No matter what your political viewpoint is, our Republican Governor wants to keep our State Republican Red now, and in the future.  He believes that the Republican way of life, as opposed to the Democratic, is what is best for our State.  In so believing, he cannot allow Charlie Christ and progressive Democrats to have any ammunition against him for his upcoming reelection campaign.

Ritch has been, and continues to be a true advocate for alimony reform because he knows that reforming our current law is not only needed, but necessary for our citizens.  But he also understands the challenging and critical political landscape for our State.  That, essentially, is what made up his mind to not file our bill this upcoming election legislative session.  That decision was finalized today (Friday).

That said, Ritch told me that when Scott wins the election, he (Ritch) will be in a much better position to get a stronger bill than what would have been proposed this legislative session.  He believes in real reform and wanted me to make certain that I tell everyone that he is as strong an advocate and proponent for alimony reform as we could ever imagine. He also wants us to know that he is frustrated about the need to postpone legislation until 2015, but that he reconciled with himself after he understood the larger picture.  He asks for our patience.

He suggested we continue to build up our war chest of funds because there will be approximately 30 new legislators between now and the 2015 legislative session that will need to be educated about the need for alimony reform.  I agree.

Once again, I cannot tell you how disappointed I am about not being able to have a bill proposed this session, but after speaking with Ritch, I am confident that when we finally do get our bill proposed, it will address many more issues than this years bill would have addressed.  In the meantime, please know that we will pursue any additional possibilities, including any National initiative, that we feel may be justified in achieving our goal.  And despite these setbacks and obstacles we will continue to move forward with unwavering resolve.

It is difficult to keep on asking for your patience and dedication to our cause, but that is what I must do.   Please believe me when I tell you that I tried every possible way to convince Ritch to propose the bill anyway.   He told me that if he tried, because of pressure from the Governors office on key legislators, it would simply die in committee before it ever reached the Governor’s desk for his signature.  And that would ultimately make it that much harder for him to propose it next session.

Lastly, I want each of you to know that I am sorry beyond words for letting you down. I asked the members of your Executive Committee if they wanted me to step down as President since I have not been able to accomplish the goal that we set out to accomplish.  They were unanimous in their opinion that I have done everything possible within my power to achieve reform and that the political environment was something out of my control.  They asked me to continue to take the helm and lead our organization towards our goal of alimony reform.  I would like to do just that, and finish a task that I started long ago.  I can only do that with your help, guidance, and understanding.

That said, Terry Power (VP) and I still plan on attending the skit night in Tallahassee so that we can continue to educate and lobby our legislators of the need for reform.  We will also show the movie ‘Divorce Corp’ as planned to any legislator and their staff who is interested in this topic.

Thank you for your continued support and dedication.

Sincerely,

Alan

 

Message from Terry Power, VP

IT’S A  MESSED UP SYSTEM, BUT IT’S THE ONLY GAME IN TOWN

                  
Terry Power,
FLR  VP

Words cannot effectively express the disappointment that I felt once we were informed that the long overdue Alimony Reform Bill will not be filed by Rep. Workman and Senator Stargel this session. As a fellow permanent alimony payer, each month’s payment to a healthy, capable ex-spouse is nothing more than a slap in the face by our outdated laws here in Florida.

I want the laws to change. I want them to change now. But equally important is my desire to have real reform, not some sort of watered-down compromise hammered out in an election year environment that gives us a third of what we want in an effort to silence us and make us go away for the next ten years.
We have always said that we wouldn’t support a toothless, ineffective alimony reform bill, and I have to applaud our key legislators for taking the same position. I want real reform. Not a band-aid on a monumental problem.
So what is next? What do we do? We continue the fight. We work to support reform-minded legislators and get them back to Tallahassee where they can help us in a post-election session next January.
We will have to work with the Governor next session if we want reform. These are simply the realities of our political system. It’s the only one we have. It’s not perfect. In fact, a lot of is is messed up. But it’s the only game in town, so we have to continue to work behind the scenes to get supportive legislators in place who can help us.
Ultimately, not moving legislation forward during this election year may be looked back years from now as being a fortunate break for us as we will have the opportunity to have real change in our laws, not just a feel-good bill that provides little more than a photo opportunity while changing nothing. It’s frustrating and upsetting right now, but as the folks in other states have found out, there are no shortcuts.
Thank you to everyone for your comments, your support, and your participation. At this point, it’s not a question of whether Alimony Reform is going to occur in Florida. It’s a matter of when. Your continued support of this cause will eventually make this a huge victory for ourselves and our families.
Terry Power
Vice-President, Family Law Reform

A MESSAGE FROM TARIE MACMILLAN
FLR’s Women Against Permanent Alimony Leader 

 

Tarie MacMillan
Women Against Permanent Alimony””WAPA”

Of course, you’re disappointed, as am I.  As most of you know my ex husband who DOES NOT work gets 65% of what I earn each week and I only get 35%.  I want and need alimony reform as much as everyone else.  I trust that Ritch Workman also wants it and is advising us in the best way possible.

For women this gives us more time to get more women involved so that the Governor can see how many women are negatively affected by our current laws.  Reach out and get as many others involved as you can.  Thanks for your involvement in our organization!!

Tarie MacMillan

Eileen Flaxman

Eileen Flaxman, FLR Executive Committee Member

Dear FLR members,I am the administrator for the FLR email account and I know first hand how many of you feel about what the upcoming legislation did and didn’t have.  Because it didn’t offer concrete change for those currently suffering under permanent alimony judgments, we were all terribly disappointed.

That is why – despite my initial  fury – I now think that delaying this bill a year will bring us a much better one.  Ritch Workman and Kelli Stargel are devoted to this mission and I have faith that they will not give up and will not forget all the  people whose lives are so impacted by permanent alimony.  Our legal system has  been this way for a very long time and we must be patient with the time it takes to bring about change.  Those of us on the FLR Board are not giving up – and neither should you!

Thanks to each of you for your support,

Eileen Flaxman

Message from CHUCK REINERTSEN, TREASURER

IF ALIMONY REFORM WAS EASY, 
IT WOULD HAVE BEEN DONE YEARS AGO

Chuck Reinertsen,
FLR Treasurer

As one who has been involved in the alimony reform movement for the last five years, I’ve seen what we are up against.  It’s Big Money and Politics!

Just like many of you, I am paying permanent alimony to a perfectly healthy, college educated, physically fit recipient who is my age.  She’s getting permanent alimony simply because she can, not because it’s her only option in life.

The ONLY reason people pay lifetime alimony is because they were successful as workers in our society, which gives them the “ability to pay.” When you penalize the workers, what happens to society?

I’ve ridden the Alimony Reform Roller-coaster with many of you.  Last year it was like a train hit me when the governor vetoed SB718.  The non-stop effort put into getting that bill to our governor’s desk was absolutely amazing.

The reason the bill made it so far so fast is that alimony reform is the right thing to do at this time in our society.  In fact, it’s long overdue, and many legislators know it.

Some politicians have turned their back on their citizens in pursuit of politics.  Red State, Blue State, Conservative, Liberal, Takers, Givers, Entitlements, Govt. Programs, Elections, Campaigns and Campaign Funding.  Somewhere, after all the maneuvering,  comes doing what you were elected to do…do what’s best for our society.

The tearing apart of Florida’s families with current alimony law is not an issue that will go away.  We will continue this battle to help Florida’s families begin to heal.  As Representative Moskowitz said last year, “When the alimony stops, the healing can begin.”

We have two fantastic legislators in Rep. Workman and Sen. Stargel, who are both committed to meaningful alimony reform.  They both know the alimony issue and are firmly supportive.  Next year, when the political climate is different in Tallahassee, they will be able to champion a bill that will be more in depth and in line with today’s society.

The financial contributions you have made are safe.  We are building a war chest to help fund the battle in 2015.  We will be discontinuing some services for this legislative session, as there will be no bill filed in the legislature.  Of course, we will continue regular newsletters to make you aware of what we learn and any other opportunities for bringing more awareness to the alimony abuse in Florida.

Please continue to contribute.  We will continue to build our funds. Many hands make light work.  We are working toward building our financial war chest now, and for the future. We would be comfortable with 250k but have a long way to go before we reach that number.

We are building a war-chest of funds to:  1. Be able to provide campaign contributions to those legislators who support alimony reform, 2. Be able to make trips to each legislator to help them better understand the alimony issues, and 3. Be able to help get the message to Florida’s citizens about Florida’s Alimony Laws.

Am I disappointed there will be no bill this year?
Yes, absolutely, positively!

Is there a bigger picture and can we have a better reform bill by waiting a year?
Yes, absolutely, positively!!

We are not going away.  Please commit yourself to helping end the abuse to Florida’s workers.Chuck

Alan Frisher’s new book “Divorcing The System”

Book Cover Divorcing the System 

If you’re thinking about joining Family Law Reform, or you’re already a member, you’ll want to know how FLR got started as an organization and how it’s battled for the past three years to try to win real alimony reform in Florida.  Find out what’s in store in 2014!

Divorcing the System is the gripping story of how one man’s unforeseen, acrimonious divorce enabled him to lead others on a march to Tallahassee to fight for all Floridians’ rights, from working with lobbyists, to canvassing legislators, and even dealing with the Florida Bar. A must-read for any person who wants a behind-the-scenes tour into the history and future of alimony reform in Florida, and possibly the entire nation.

Order Now!  $19.95 (plus tx, and $3.95 shipping).  E-book is now also available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Vook.com, and IBookStore.com.

10% of sales will go back as a donation to Family Law Reform.




 

Books will be shipped by the end of August.

 

Click here for more information about Alan Frisher and alimony reform.

 

Here are some quotes about the book:

 

It was an honest portrayal of a guy trying to make a difference in a system seen by most as outdated and self-serving. While the battle is not yet over, Alan Frisher has taken up the cause of Family Law Reform in a well written, accurate journal documenting the personal pain and experiences he has endured along the way.

~~Alan Elkins, Esq. Family Law Attorney

 

Alan’s realistic and pragmatic take on the judicial system of divorce reveals how dysfunctional and antiquated our family divorce system has become and how it allows for an entitlement attitude for the recipient of alimony at the financial and emotional expense of the bread winner.  Learn from his experience and expertise to protect yourself from litigation before it’s too late.

~~Scott Martin, CFP, CDFA, and Author of Design Your Divorce

 

A must read for anyone in the family law system, whether participant, bystander, advocate, or Judge.  Alan Frisher’s account of his personal experience in family court and his tremendous efforts to change laws to protect others from his experience is detailed and moving.

~~Lori Barkus, Esq. Family Law Attorney

The Future of Family Law Reform and Alimony Reform

As you now know, the 2013 Legislative Session ended without being able to address a solution for Alimony Reform.  There are many questions to be answered,  and certainly much more growth that needs to occur with our organization.

 

We will soon be working to define specific roles and duties for key persons within Family Law Reform.  We will also begin an organizational structure to clearly map out our goals and objectives for the coming years.

 

One of our objectives will be putting together an advertising listing of pro-reform Attorneys in the near future because many of our members have been asking for some help with their own individual cases. As you can imagine, we have been quite busy what with the legislative session.  Our focus will soon turn to much needed organizational approaches within Family Law Reform.

 

Please remain patient and supportive of our mission.  We are all fighting the good fight and we really need your continual financial support to do so. Without donations, our organization could never have achieved he awareness that we now have.  Awareness with the media, and certainly with the legislature.  We must keep that awareness in tact and continue on our path towards reform.

 

Thank you, and with your help, we will achieve reform by the next legislative session.

 

Regards,
Alan Frisher, CDFA
President

ACT NOW and sign online petition to sign Florida Alimony Reform Bill

https://www.change.org/petitions/florida-governor-rick-scott-sign-the-alimony-reform-bill-when-it-comes-to-you-for-your-signature

 

PLEASE ACT NOW and sign this online petition to have Governor Rick Scott Sign Florida’s Alimony Reform Bill.

We have created this petition asking the Governor to sign the Alimony Reform Bill once it passes the Florida House Floor. You can sign this in less than 2 minutes on your computer, phone, or tablet. This is Florida Family Law’s response to the Family Law Section’s leader (see her email below) who has now initiating a last minute desperate campaign asking the Governor to veto the Bill. Please SIGN AND SHARE and TELL all your friends and family members to sign it.

Below are parts of an email sent by the FLS leader telling its 3500+ attorneys to sign a petition to have the Governor VETO the Bill:

“Dear Family Law Section Members,
Be aware! Senate Bill 718 passed the Senate on Thursday, April 4, 2013. It will definitely pass the House AND THE GOVERNOR WILL SIGN IT UNLESS WE ALL MOBILIZE TO STOP IT!!!….We have created a petition that you, your friends, your colleagues, your acquaintances, and your clients can all sign for us to send to the Governor. Please download the petition, print it, and gather as many signatures as you can. PLEASE DO NOT IGNORE THIS EMAIL. THIS IS OUR LAST CHANCE. If you agree with the Executive Council of the Family Law Section that a presumption of equal timesharing in every case is bad for Florida’s families, and that the drastic rewriting of Florida’s alimony laws AND retroactive application is just plain WRONG, please share this link with your colleagues, forensic accountants, mental health professionals, judges, mediators, clients, friends, and others who will be negatively impacted by this legislation. LET’S WORK TOGETHER TO STOP THIS BILL! THANK YOU!! Carin Porras, Chair, Family Law Section “