Gruters Alimony Bill Signed by DeSantis

Todays News

Image courtesy Facebook: Joe Gruters and Ron DeSantis.

An overhaul of Florida’s alimony laws represented one of the last open questions from the legislative session as June closed. But ultimately, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill championed by state Sen. Joe Gruters, R-Sarasota.

The bill was one of the last two signed by DeSantis, along with legislation updating the Florida Retirement System. The new law went into effect on Saturday, hours after it was signed, and largely did away with permanent alimony cases in Florida moving forward. Rehabilitative alimony can last no longer than five years now.

“I appreciate the governor signing SB 1416 legislation into law,” Gruters said “It's long overdue and a win for Florida families.”

DeSantis offered no comment on why he signed the bill this year, after vetoing similar legislation sponsored by Gruters in 2022. Last year, the Governor said he nixed the prior bill because it would be partly retroactive and impact existing divorce settlements.

Critics of the bill retain that fear.

“On behalf of the thousands of women who our group represents, we are very disappointed in the Governor’s decision to sign the alimony reform bill,” said Jan Killilea, a spokeswoman for the First Wives Advocacy Group. “We believe by signing it, he has put older women in a situation which will cause financial devastation. The so-called party of ‘family values’ has just contributed to erosion of the institution of marriage in Florida.”

That said, much of the speculation around DeSantis’ plan with the legislation centered around the fact Gruters has publicly supported former President Donald Trump’s campaign for President over the Governor. Gruters credited that fact with Sarasota suffering a disproportionate share of line item vetoes in the budget this year.

But Gruters felt the alimony bill this year had as much agreement as possible by both sides. For the first time, the Family Law Section of the Florida Bar endorsed the final language.

“Importantly, and differentiating it from past legislation, this bill did not include provisions that would negatively impact existing alimony awards or otherwise be harmful to Florida’s families,” read a joint statement from Family Law Section Chair Sarah Kay and immediate Past Chair Philip Wartenberg. 

Florida Family Fairness, which has pushed for years to end permanent alimony, praised the change to state law.

“Florida Family Fairness is pleased that the Florida Legislature and Gov. DeSantis have passed a bill that ends permanent alimony and codifies in statute the right to retire for existing alimony payers,” said FFF Chairman Michael Buhler in a statement. “Anything that adds clarity and ends permanent alimony is a win for Florida families.”

Image courtesy Facebook: Joe Gruters and Ron DeSantis.

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