Mediate This!

What Is The Current State of Alimony Reform In Florida?

April 08, 2022 Matthew Brickman, Sydney Mitchell Season 1 Episode 51
Mediate This!
What Is The Current State of Alimony Reform In Florida?
Show Notes Transcript

The timeline for alimony reform in the state of Florida is a long, complicated one. Are you going to be paying alimony for a lifetime or is relief just around the corner? Matthew Brickman and Sydney Mitchell answer your most frequently asked questions about divorce as they go over several key points:

  • Assume nothing.
  • Know who you are before you get married. 
  • Know who you're getting married to. 
  • Know the laws and statutes in the state you live in.
  • Don't take advice from anyone who isn't a legal professional in the state in which you're getting married and living in.

If you have a matter, disagreement, or dispute you need professional help with then visit iMediate.com - Email mbrickman@ichatmediation or Call (877) 822-1479

Matthew Brickman is a Florida Supreme Court certified family and appellate mediator who has worked in the 15th and 19th Judicial Circuit Courts since 2009 and 2006 respectively. But what makes him qualified to speak on the subject of conflict resolution is his own personal experience with divorce.

Download Matthew's book on iTunes for FREE:
You're Not the Only One - The Agony of Divorce: The Joy of Peaceful Resolution

Matthew Brickman
President iMediate Inc.
Mediator 20836CFA
iMediateInc.com

Sydney Mitchell:

Hi, my name is Sydney Mitchell.

Matthew Brickman:

Hi, I'm Matthew Brickman, Florida Supreme court mediator. Welcome to the media, this podcast, where we discuss everything mediation and conflict resolution.

Sydney Mitchell:

Well, Matthew, we have a question that was submitted from one of our listeners and it reads this. What is the current state of our alimony reform in Florida? I know that there's a new bill that's potentially being passed and there's sounds like there's a lot of controversy around it right now. This is something that's super pertinent , uh, to, to , to this month to right now. So what is the current state of alimony reform in Florida? And what is that looking like? Moving forward, Matthew.

Matthew Brickman:

All right . So Sid , before I tell you the current state, let's, let's look back to see what it was. So then in context, we understand what it can potentially be , um , moving forward. So historically in Florida , um, we have had , um, different types of alimony had. Um, and , and in one of our previous podcasts, we've talked about the different types of alimony, like bridge, the gap, rehabilitative, durational, and then permanent. And what Florida did a number of years ago was they actually put in the statute , they clearly defined what is a short term , a mid length and a long term marriage. So short term is anything up to seven years. Midterm is seven to 17 and anything longer than 17 is considered a long term marriage. And so then they assigned each different type , um , whether it's bridge the gap, rehabilitative , uh, durational, or were permanent into each length of marriage and they gave a bunch of rules and stuff it's in Florida, chapter 61 , uh , for those that wanna go look at it. Okay . So what this bill has been trying to do, and I say trying to do, because there has been a push for alimony where form for as long as I've been mediating , um, it may have been even longer, but it was least as long as I've been mediating and in 2016 , we're in 2022 as of the date of this recording, but in 2016, the house and the Senate both passed alimony reform, but the governor vetoed it. And the reason why the governor vetoed it at the time was because as most politicians do, whether on a state level or on a federal level, they usually stick things in a particular bill that should not be there. For example, you know, like on a big scale in the federal government, they may do something for roads and infrastructure and they will throw in things like abortion, like, okay. One has nothing to do with that. Doesn't make any sense. Yeah. But they know that if they did an abortion bill, it would be veto. So they stick it into a different bill. So that it's like, oh, well this is what the bill is about. And then of course they pay their lobbyist to go in there and be like, we want this bill look what it's gonna do to our arose. Look what it's gonna do. They, they, so to the people that want the abortion there, they will tell em , this has abortion in it. And then the people that , that don't want it , they don't even talk about it . They say, this is for the roads. We need to do this. I mean, it it's , it's just , it's so ridiculous. Well ,

Sydney Mitchell:

Huge topics that are really bad

Matthew Brickman:

That have nothing to do with one another.

Sydney Mitchell:

Wow. Is this just , is this Florida thing or is this in ,

Matthew Brickman:

Oh no, no, no , no. That that's an example. Like on the federal level, now they do that on the state level too. But particularly in this particular alimony reform bill that they've been trying to do for years and years and years, they have taken alimony, which is gonna completely separate animal. That alimony only pertains. And you and I have talked about this so many times it only pertains to a divorce, right? Like if, if two people are together and have a kid, there's no alimony there. They're just dealing with time sharing and child support. Right. Right. But what they've done is they've tried to stick time sharing in an alimony bill.

Sydney Mitchell:

Okay. And what is their outline for us? Um, what it says regarding time sharing and what the goal is of including that here in this bill.

Matthew Brickman:

So what they've tried to do. Okay. So

Sydney Mitchell:

They're try , are they trying to be , they're trying to be sneaky.

Matthew Brickman:

Well, yes and no. I mean, look, you can't be sneaky. Like it , it gets red , it gets exposed. There's proponents in . Oh yeah, yeah, yeah . People on , on , you know , people that are for it , people that are against it on both sides of the aisle . Um, personally I think let alimony deal with alimony, let time sharing deal with time sharing if you don't, because look, a lot of times people are all for modifying alimony book because you put a time sharing component in there. Well then we're not gonna pass alimony. That's what the governor did back in 2016 was he, he was for alimony reform. At least what I read, what I was hearing, what I was, you know , um , researching. He was for alimony reform. He was heavily against any premise or presumption of 50, 50 time sharing . So because it had time sharing in there, he, he vetoed it and then screwed up the whole alimony reform thing. So, I mean, I'm always of the thought look good, bad, and different. Like it dislike it, agree with it. Agree with it. Let each topic stand on its own. Right.

Sydney Mitchell:

I make that's what makes the most sense to me, it

Matthew Brickman:

Makes the most sense, but that's not how our political system works . So, so that's , so I think we talked about this back in one of our podcasts regarding the time sharing when oh, so long ago, everything , when everything got changed back in 2011 , after the study at the university of Arizona, where they uncovered the tender years doctrine fallacy, and then, you know, everything's, you know, the , the changed where now the children are entitled to frequent continuing contact based on that, most judges said, oh, frequent, continuing, that's gotta be 50 50 , but there was nothing in the statute that said 50 , 50 , but that's basically what a lot of the judges were doing . It still gave judicial discretion. But most of them , most of the time, we're doing 50 50 now by not having in the statute, it certainly gave people. And when I say people, the individuals, the moms and the dads, the opportunity to pay their attorneys a whole bunch of money to go into court, to try to change the judge's mom , because there's nothing in the statute that says that, okay, there's a basis for this is where we start. Or we start here unless you tell me otherwise. So even though generally, this was what they were doing, nothing. And the law said that they had to, so attorneys would be paid a lot of money if their clients wanted to pay them. And I had a mediation recently, Sydney , where it was a paternity action. Mom and dad were never married. There is no 50, 50 presumption or premise in Florida statute. Yet mom and dad collectively had paid their attorneys over a hundred thousand dollars to who argue in a court of law, whether or not there should or should not be 50, 50 time sharing between the child and both mom and dad. Uh, it's a paternity action. There's no alimony. There's no equitable distribution. There's no retirement accounts. There's no home. This is purely, let's set up a parenting plan and run a child important number . But by not having it in the statute, the attorneys were like, well , Hey man, I'll go argue it. And they had spent over a hundred grand trying to, you know, mom didn't want it. Dad did a hundred thousand dollars over a hundred thousand dollars later. They ended up up in front of a judge. And guess what? It's 50 50 .

Speaker 3:

OK . So

Sydney Mitchell:

Tell me, tell me then

Matthew Brickman:

What , okay , so, so that's how it was, what this bill does is this bill and let's , uh , I'm gonna pull up on the screen. So you and I can see it. So this is, this is pretty overwhelming. So since, since 2016, and that was when the governor vetoed it, the house in the Senate passed it. Governor vetoed it. He vetoed it because he was told one thing by the lobbyist. He was , he failed. And when I say failed, massive failure, he failed to actually read the bill himself. He was lazy. Um, I did not like this governor. He was arrogant . And so what he did as he simply went based on what he was told, which was incorrect and vetoed it without ever looking at the bill. So ever since then, Florida, every single legislature year or almost every single legislature year, I think they took one year off , um, have tried to fix the mistake that they aid then. And they were looking at Massachusetts because Massachusetts had successfully done it. Um, and you , and so they were trying to model after Massachusetts, the problem was, it would pass in, in one chamber, like the house, but then what was happening in the Senate was they were blocking it. It never even was allowed to be debated on the floor to see what was even in it. They had blocked it. Now, I think that's just wrong. Like, if you are for something or against something, I'm perfectly okay with your position, right? But at least let's have the conversation. Somehow they were able to block. So there was no debate and it died before ever getting heard or debated, which I think is just wrong. So finally this year, 20 21, 20 22 legislative year, finally it got debated in the house and then it got sent to the Senate. It debated in the Senate. And as you and I sit here today, it's sitting on the governor's desk to either be signed or veto. Now, this is pretty interesting. If you take a look here, look at what it was passed by the house, passed it on a vote of happen , four to 42. That's a pretty nice spread. That's not close. That's a pretty nice spread. And then the Senate voted on it. And that was a 2116 vote. That to me is not a close vote. That's a nice spread too, which says on both sides of the aisle , Democrat and Republican, all in all collectively, it looks like a pretty decent bill that they can sign off on. And so they had made some improvements, made some alterations, and now they have sent it to the governor desk for , um , for signature. Now what they did was they in , in this bill, it would end permanent alimony in the state of Florida. So there will not be permanent alimony. Now here's, what's interesting. The one here, remember I told you that, that one of the reasons why it got vetoed was because of the time sharing component in there. This is interesting. One of the other reasons it was vetoed was because in the past, all the versions or most of the versions had a retro active component to it. So what that means, Sydney is this. If the governor does sign this bill, as it's , as it's being proposed right now, he will sign it. And I believe I read it will go into effect July, 2022 . Okay . That means that that has already been settled prior to July, 2022 does not fall under this category and is not going to be undone anything after July, 2022, there is no more permanent alimony. So a lot of people, when it comes to alimony, an alimony reform, we're wanting a retroactive component because say, for example, you got divorced 10 years ago, you've got permanent alimony. You won alimony reform. Maybe that will get you out of lifetime alimony. If this gets passed with a retroactive component, now I can absolutely as a media and as a husband, as an ex-husband, I absolutely understand both sides of the argument for having a retroactive component and not having a retroactive component. So let's first talk about having a retroactive component. Having a retroactive component could be good because it levels a playing field for everyone past present and future. One of the bad parts of having a retroactive component is can you imagine everybody that already has permanent alimony that then is now gonna rush to the court to modify, oh my gosh, you talk about clogging the courts, right?

Speaker 3:

It would be a zoo,

Matthew Brickman:

But so, so I understand both sides of the argument, but this was presented. And I don't know where I heard this from. I don't know. I don't remember who told me this was back in 2016 when we were , uh , very, very close to having it. And it had a retroactive component in it as well. Um, they said that by , by not having a retroactive component is sort of like Abraham Lincoln signing the emancipation proclamation without retroactivity that says, okay, as of today, every black person that is born from today is free , but all the rest of you, poor slaves, you're still gonna be a slave.

Sydney Mitchell:

That's an interesting perspective,

Matthew Brickman:

Right ? I mean, you talk about the unfair beyond unfair. That's what those that currently have permanent alimony that are for alimony reform, but they're going come on, right? Granted, those are the pioneers and the brave, both men and women that are changing the future. That look, I may have gotten a really bad deal, but will make sure that nobody else ever gets a bad deal. Like I got. Right. And so, I mean, I understand both sides of it. I can see both sides of the pros and the cons to it. Um, this particular bill does not have a retroactive component to it. Um , and a , but this bill does have a presumption of 50, 50 time sharing in there. Um, and so specifically it says , um, that this amendment would create a presumption that equal time sharing is in the best interest of a minor child. You and I have talked about time sharing , you know , best interest, best interest, best interest. So what's interesting is, you know, if you look at the word presumption, like what does presumption actually,

Sydney Mitchell:

I'll just say that's very gray.

Matthew Brickman:

Yeah. Well, you know, what does presumption actually mean? That means an idea that is taken to be true and often use as the basis for other ideas. So then it means that the base that, that the courts would say, okay, we believe that equal time sharing is in the best interest of the amount of child . We believe that to be true. And that's where we're starting,

Sydney Mitchell:

Where, where you're starting, but not necessarily where every time sharing agreement will end.

Matthew Brickman:

Well, that's already what they're doing though. They're already saying it sort of starts and ends at the same place. Now this is what's interesting. And you gotta remember where all of this came from in the first place, the equal time sharing or the, the change in the statute that said the child shall be entitled to frequent. And continuing contact came from the study that found that the tender years doctrine was a fallacy. And we know the effects of fatherless homes in the United States. And so is higher. Teen pregnancy is higher. Drug use is higher. Crime is higher. High school. Dropout is lower college admissions. Those are facts that can be documented beyond documented. Are all of those in the best interest of a child ? No , it doesn't matter if you're Democrat or Republican more morally. No, that's not in the best interest of a child. Well, that's what happens when you say, well, dad, you're not as important as mom. So by changing this to a presumption, that means, okay, well fine. We are gonna start at that level. And maybe let's say, for example, dad has a history of domestic violence or drugs or whatnot . Okay, fine . We start there and now you are telling me otherwise, well, are all of those things in the best interest of the child? Well know because of dad's behavior, not because of mom's desire or because of, you know, mom's behavior, not dad's desire. Now we'll start deducting. Or maybe we will not do 50 50 , but what this does , those components

Sydney Mitchell:

Are still being too considered .

Matthew Brickman:

They can still be considered. But what this does is this takes away the argument of, well, we shouldn't have 50 50. Okay. Unless there is a really, really, really good reason. Guess what the statute will then say that yes, it is equal .

Sydney Mitchell:

What if one of the , um, parties doesn't want 50, 50 if they want less or they can't, you know,

Matthew Brickman:

So, so great question because there are times where I've got mom and dad that say, dad lives in Orlando, mom lives in Palm beach. Well , you can't do 50 50. This just says that it's in the child's best interest you , if you can. But if you can't like in my, in my situation, how in the world would my kids do 50, 50 back in the day when their mother lived in New York and I lived in Florida, it's not possible. Right. But if she lived in, you know, Martin county and I lived in Palm beach county and were living within 50 miles, which is , is the relocation statute. Sure, sure. You could do it. And so what the , so now what this would say is instead of well, it's public policy that the child is entitled to frequent continuing contact. No, it would say there is a presumption of equal time sharing . Now the problem with both of these, the problem with both of, of a presumption of 50 50 , um, is, you know, and , and , and I hear this from attorneys as I'm mediating is, well, yeah, but 50 50 is not in the best interest in this case. Okay. If you have extenuating circumstances and facts that you can bring, not just, well , mom's not comfortable, dad doesn't want it. No, no, no , no legitimate facts that, you know, you've got police records, you've got baker acts someone's been in jail. Someone has been arrested. Someone DCF has been involved in like, there's a restraining order. Like, okay, facts. Well then fine to take it before a judge and then start with 50 50, present your facts and let the judge then see if it's still appropriate or if it's gonna be less.

Sydney Mitchell:

Okay. So it's clear what the effects are for, you know, a couple in their , in their child pertaining to , um, time sharing . But what is the effect for like, how does this affect family attorneys? How is it affecting mediation? I mean, what are the implications of this, if this bill were to be passed, what does it mean for, for the other side?

Matthew Brickman:

Yeah. So for, for the, so you're asking for the practitioners, not for the general public, but for the practitioners.

Sydney Mitchell:

Thank you. I could not think of the right word.

Matthew Brickman:

Yeah. So as a mediator, the further away that we get, the longer I mediate, the further away from 2011, when this study was released and the statute got changed the further away from 2011 , the easier it gets to create a time sharing plan. Because prior to that, we had primary, secondary parenting. There was a presumption under the tender years doctrine that mom was more important than dad. And so it was a complete tug of war . Whereas after that, it's like, okay, the child's entitled. You're not entitled. The child's entitled well, okay, fine. And being the, generally the judges were doing 50 50 and you know, like we all know the practitioners meetings , we know what judges do. Like we know the certain rulings like, oh , oh yeah. I mean, like there's, there's one judge in Palm beach county. Uh , we , we have Ted , but one in particular, she hands out 50 50, like it's a PE candy dispenser all day long. We , everybody just knows, oh, if you're going in front of her, it's 50 50 period into story don't even bother. Um , and so , um, so for the mediator, for me as a mediator, it, it just gets easier because guess what if this passes and there's a presumption of 50 50, we are not the, the general public that comes to meet for me to mediate . Sometimes Sydney will spend 2, 3, 4, 7, 10 out hours arguing over whether there is, or is not going to be 50, 50, not all the other logistics, nothing just, are we, or are we not doing 50 50? What will happen is they're gonna save a whole lot of money, which means I get paid less fine. My goal is a mediator. I tell everybody that my goal is a mediator is to get them through this process as quickly as inexpensively and as peacefully as possible. I tell people, I want you to pay your attorneys less money, pay me less money, pay the courts less money, because you're gonna need to raise your kid. And kids are expensive. Keep as much money in your pocket as possible. So guess what? We're not gonna be spending hours and hours and hours are gonna we're . Are we, or are we not doing 50 50? What we're gonna be talking about is which 50 50. And we already have direction from the child therapists, psychologists that tell us 2, 2, 3 , and you and I have gone through this 2, 2, 3 appropriate for zero to school, age 2 25 for school, age to emancipation, or possibly school age to teenage and seven seven for teenage to emancipation the therapists, the ones that really know, not judges, not lawyers, not mediators. The children, psychologists and therapists know based on the psychological and emotional needs and development of children, their different stages. They've already given us direction back in 2011 of which model is appropriate. So if this passes, all we're talking about is which model, not if we're gonna do this model or not do this model. So for me, it's certainly gonna cut into my income. Fine . There's plenty of people out there. I wanna help people now from an attorney point of view, I believe one of the reasons why the family law section of the Florida bar is heavily, heavily, heavily against this is this will absolutely cut into their bottom line of being able to tell their clients. Yeah, let's take a chance, pay me like that couple a hundred thousand dollars. And we'll take a chance with the judge. Oh no, it's greatly going to affect their bottom line and their ability to argue, but come on, like, you really want to get paid at a family's expense . The , you know, like yeah, enough said there now with alimony, if there's no more permanent alimony, there is a lot of clear direction in the bill. And I encourage everybody go look at Senate bill 1796 in Florida law. You can just Google Florida law. I SB 1796. It's the current build that's sitting there. Um, maybe by the time this gets released, it may either vetoed or past . We'll see. Um, but there's clear direction of, okay, well here's the remaining types. Here's how to use 'em . Um , what I haven't seen Sid , and I'll be curious to find out if this passes cuz I've read, but I haven't found it. Um, now when I read the previous, like even back in 2016, I didn't find it until after the fact, but back in 2016 when the house and Senate passed it, but the governor vetoed it as practitioners, we ended up if the actual alimony calculator, you and I have gone through and , and I've showed you how to calculate child support, right? Well, there's an alimony calculator. Now we have it built into our software that we use to do , uh , mediation. I

Sydney Mitchell:

Think we may have actually done the alimony calculator at some point. Yeah.

Matthew Brickman:

I , I think I probably showed you at one point when we talked Ali money , but I don't know if in this bill, if that will either revive it re uh , revise it or if we're gonna get one. But if we get one again from my, from , from my perspective as a mediator that helps me help the , the husband and the wife gain control of their life and settle now for the attorney. No, it absolutely affects their bottom line because they're not able to then sell them on a hope and a dream. And a maybe to go in front of a judge to see what a judge may or may not do when the calculator actually Sydney . And I think you and I had talked about this, the calculator was actually based on what the judges were doing. So basically they reverse engineered it. They said, okay, let's not create it. And then tell the judges what to do. What are the judges doing? Okay. They reverse engineered the calculator. So this bill, while you know what the lobbyists are saying and all , and , um, and let me read this. This says the family law section of the Florida bar also acknowledged or sorry, also asked Florida governor Ron DeSantis to veto the bill following its passage because of those controversial visions. That's the 50 50 times share pre uh , presumption and the elimination of permanent alimony. Um, and, and this is what they said. The measure will have a serious impact on existing and pending awards of alimony and affects court ratified, marital subtle in agreements without cause. And they said that this will leave Floridians. Some of our state's most , uh , vulnerable, including seniors and children , um, and ultimately veto these unwarranted changes to alimony and time sharing , you know, because it's gonna leave them, you know, in , in , in a bad place, no, this is gonna leave the attorneys and the practitioners and myself, cuz it will affect our bottom dollar. This will not, I do not believe that this will affect , um, the bottom line for people. This is gonna create a better society. And the reason why I say better society, and I think you and I talk about this, you know , um, in the , in our alimony podcast that we did was think of it like this. So I did a Swedish divorce. A number of years ago, husband and wife were in Sweden. It was virtual. I was in Florida. This was before COVID , uh , cuz I've had a virtual system since oh nine.

Sydney Mitchell:

I was gonna say, otherwise you've got a free trip to , uh ,

Matthew Brickman:

I wish Sweden . Yeah, I wish. Right. Um , so, so what's interesting is Sweden has the highest co-parenting of any country on the planet. Their ability to co-parent is off the charts. And here's why

Sydney Mitchell:

Is that mask ? You know,

Matthew Brickman:

Here's why number one, there is a presumption of 50, 50 times sharing . So it is 50 50 it's equal period. End of story. Um , child support is based on 50, 50 times sharing . Great, not a problem. They are very similar to Florida, an equitable distribution state. So basically everything just gets all their assets in debt and , and everything of the marriage just gets split 50 50 in Sweden. There's absolutely unequivocally under no circumstances, there is no alimony. What so ever at all. So guess what has there ever been? No , uh , not that I , I , I don't know if ever, but I know that as of, I think it was 2017 or 18, I did this divorce there, there was no alimony, but guess what? Here's the deal if, I mean, and , and , and , and , and , and , and it carries over here to Florida. It there's no Ali me in Sweden . Then if two people are going to get together and two people are going to get married. And if they decide, if the mom decides, Hey, I'm going to quit my job and stay home and take care of our child, she knows that will never be a pay day later. I'm making a sacrifice for my family, but I'm not getting paid later. Or she may say, look , uh, would you give up your job, honey? And you stay with the , with our child. And he says , uh , no. And she goes, well, I'm not either see , you know what, I guess we're gonna put our child in childcare or maybe we'll utilize family, or we'll move closer to family or whatnot , cuz it takes a village. But guess what? They will make completely different choices inside of their marriage because they know that there's no eventual payday later. Well, I, I believe that that's what that , if this passes, that is what is going to carry over to here, which only is going to create a better society for co-parenting because here's the deal, Sidney permanent alimony, just because a marriage is over 17 years does not automatically make it. Oh, it's permanent alimony over 17 years. No, no, no , no , no . Go will read the statute before any type of alimony, you have to get over the hurdle of need versus ability to pay. And look you, I have never met anybody that I have ever met. Even you Sydney , I've never met anybody that did not need more money. Like that's an easy hurdle, right? Do you need more money? Sure. I need more money. Every that that's easy ability to pay. That's a different animal. Most people they're living beyond their means. Yep . Right? And so mom may have a legitimate need. Absolutely. Dad doesn't have an ability to pay and she may have given up her work and she may have stayed home and raised those kids for 18 years and sacrificed. But if he doesn't have an ability to pay, she ain't getting paid. Do not think that okay, fine. She's just gonna be like, oh, okay then fine. Whatever I can still co-parent with you. You're still an amazing dad. Oh no. She's going to be bitter in resentful and angry. Every single interaction, communication co-parenting decision. And that's gonna bleed over and affect her ability to co-parent and that's gonna affect their kids because of money. Well guess what if, if permanent alimony goes away and now there's a different direction and clarity on the other types of alimony, I believe that people will make different decisions and you know what, it's your decision. If there's not gonna be a payday, then you know it ahead of time and you just make a different decision, but that'll be your decision. And you know what, if you know that there's never gonna be a payday, so you continue to work. And those are the decisions you make inside the confines of your marriage . If it fails and you get divorced, well, then you're not resentful. You're not expecting something that that is not there.

Sydney Mitchell:

Sure.

Matthew Brickman:

I'm always when I'm mediating. I , and , and , and , and , and I'm , I'm gonna finish this section , talking about this As a mediator. When I mediate, I might be helping mom and dad, husband, and wife negotiate their issues pending on that particular day. But where my mind is, is my mind is at least five years into the future thinking, okay, based on , on these decisions, does this help or hurt their ability to co-parent in the future? And I'm also thinking not even about them or their children. I'm thinking about generations that aren't here yet because mom and dad are products of their generation and their upbringing from their parents, these children that we're negotiating a time sharing plan right now are products of their mom and dad. And you know, what, whatever tone, whatever we set in this parenting plan today is going to affect how these kids view being parents. And that's going to affect this couples, unborn grandchildren that haven't even been born yet. And so I'm not thinking, oh , okay, let's just take care of today. I'm thinking, how can I set generations up for success that aren't even living on this planet yet.

Sydney Mitchell:

Right. And I think that's such an important thing for , um, for couples who are approaching divorce, considering divorce, even just going through the process, you know, that is such an important component to consider because you're right. I mean, there's hurt feelings, there's drama, there's disenfranchisement, there's, you know, all the , the, for these that we've talked about. Yeah . Um, you know, I just, I can imagine how consuming that must be. Um, and so thank God that there's somebody there to just kind of have a , a level head looking forward into the future, but you're, you're so right. There are , um, you know, I think about my personal experiences, you know, my parents are, and one of my parents has been divorced and remarried several times after that. Um, and my, both of my parents' parents were divorced. And so I'm not saying that that means I'm gonna get a divorce and my kids are, you know, are gonna be divorced, but you know, it definitely shapes, you know, your , your , um, your view about marriage and parenting and yeah . And , uh , that, that, that legacy aspect you're talking about, it really is key. And it's so easy to forget about in the midst of just trying to get through the day.

Matthew Brickman:

Yeah. You know, and , and , and , and Sydney what's, what's interesting is my daughter who recently got married , um, in 2020, she actually said to me, she goes, dad, I'm going to be a general racial chain breaker . What happened prior is not going to happen further. And she's because , you know, because of, I guess what I do, what she hears, what she sees, what she , you know, my story and what my kids were through, went through with their mom and stuff. You, you know, she's recognized that, and now being married, she goes, dad, I'm doing everything I can cuz I'm, you know, I'm not going to be the generation and the generation and the generation and the generation. No, I'm going to stop that. And you know, hopefully, you know, my hope as a parent is that my kids had it better than I do. And I'm that my I'm sure that for my parents, for them, they said, well, we hope that our kids have it better than they do. Like everybody wants the next, the best for the next generation. I highly doubt that one generation says, man, I hope that my kids' generation completely fails. Like, no, right? Like you want the next generation to do well. We need to do what we can to set them up. And what I believe that, you know, do I believe what this bill does is it provides equal footing for the parents in the event that they have to walk into a courtroom right now it's sort of unknown. Like there's a presumption, but it's not written, but I think, but I know. And you know, whereas if they actually know this is what it is, it makes negotiating much easier and it makes litigation a , a , a whole lot cheaper for the parties. Granted for the practi. It will absolutely impact our business, but I don't mind because we're, we , we are creating a better society. And if that means that I have to lose a little bit of income so that we can create a better society. So be it that's money well spent.

Sydney Mitchell:

That's so good really quickly before we wrap up here, Matthew, if our listeners wanna read more about this bill, just recap for them what they should search, where they should go and where they can find out more information and updates as it is either past or vetoed.

Matthew Brickman:

Yeah . So, so this is , um, I , I would just Google, Florida SB. That's like Sam Bravo , um , 1796. And so SB 1796 , um, or just Google, Florida, alimony reform 2020, who , and who knows. You might get an answer by the time this actually hits the airwaves. And then everyone will be reflecting back to what we talked about based on whether this gets vetoed or gets passed .

Sydney Mitchell:

Well, Matthew , thank you so much for , uh, tackling this question. This is gonna be an interesting one and hope to talk about it soon again, once we , once we have more updates,

Matthew Brickman:

Occasionally Sydney and I will be releasing Q & A bonus episodes where we will answer questions and give you a personal shout out.

Sydney Mitchell:

If you have a comment or question regarding anything that we discuss, email us@infoichatmediation.com that's info iChat I C H a T mediation.com. Stay tuned to hear your shout out and have your question answered here on the show

Matthew Brickman:

For more information about my services or to schedule your mediation with me, either in person or using my iChat mediation virtual platform built by Cisco communications. Visit me online@imedinc.com . Call me at five six one two six toll free at 8 7 7 8 2 2 14 79 . Or email me .