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Gov. DeSantis Vetoes Florida Legislature’s Attempt to Reform Alimony Statutes

June 27, 2022

Crystal Buit

For years, Florida’s Legislature has attempted to overhaul Florida’s alimony law. And this year was no different, as Florida’s Legislature once again attempted to enact sweeping changes in an effort to reform Florida’s alimony statutes. On June 24 2022, Governor Ron DeSantis vetoed the current bill (CS/CS/SB 1796).

Similar bills have been previously vetoed by prior Florida governors as well, including by Governor Rick Scott in 2016. In explaining why, Governor DeSantis explained that, had the changes gone into effect, the retroactive nature of the bill would “unconstitutionally impair vested rights under certain preexisting marital settlement agreements.” The Family Law Section of the Florida Bar – among others – had lobbied against the changes, which, in addition to eliminating “permanent alimony”, also limited the availability of durational alimony to marriages of longer than 3 years and further capped how long a recipient could get durational alimony (for example, for marriages between 3-10 years, the duration of alimony would have been capped at 60% of the length of the marriage). The amount of durational alimony awarded by a court would also not have been permitted to exceed 35% of the difference between the parties’ net incomes. Other significant changes included extensive provisions related to retirement, and the modification/termination of alimony accordingly.

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Crystal Espinosa Buit devotes her practice to providing skilled and supportive legal representation for clients going through complicated and often highly emotional family law matters, including divorce, child support, child custody, alimony and family law litigation. She also has significant experience negotiating and drafting prenuptial and postnuptial agreements for couples seeking financial protection and peace of mind. Her clients include high-net-worth individuals, business executives, doctors, lawyers, professional athletes and other prominent professionals, as well as the spouses of such individuals.

A strong and compassionate advocate, Crystal knows every family is unique and no two cases are the same. She works tirelessly to find creative solutions that minimize conflict and suit each client’s best interests and individual needs. A wife and mother of two, Crystal also understands the difficult decisions her clients face, and she works closely with them to keep them informed and supported as they navigate uncharted territory and make important choices for themselves and their children.

With her training and experience in collaborative family law, Crystal believes that most couples and families can benefit from avoiding lengthy courtroom battles by resolving conflicts regarding issues like shared parenting time, child and spousal support, and property division through alternative dispute resolution methods such as mediation, arbitration, and collaborative law. When litigation cannot be avoided, she and the firm’s other family law attorneys will zealously represent you and your interests in the courtroom.

An Orlando native, Crystal is an ardent supporter of her undergraduate alma mater, the University of Central Florida. She currently serves on its Alumni Association Board of Directors and was honored with the UCF Jefferson Award for Constituent Chapter Volunteer of the Year in recognition of her generosity and service to the university. Previously recognized by Florida Super Lawyers as a “Florida Rising Star,” Crystal graduated magna cum laude from the University of Florida Levin College of Law. While in law school, she was a member of the Florida Law Review and earned five Books Awards, including Interviewing & Counseling; Negotiation; and Family and Public Policy.
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