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Love/hate reaction to alimony elimination bill

11:52 PM, Apr 23, 2013   |    comments
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TAMPA, Florida - If you're getting divorced or have recently been divorced, the amount you're either receiving or paying in alimony could be changing a lot. That's because there's a bill on Governor Rick Scott's desk to limit not just the amount, but how long you pay it.

Here's how the bill breaks down: Long term marriage is considered 20 years or more and may not exceed 38 percent of the responsible party's monthly income. Mid-term is 11 to 20 years and may not exceed 35 percent. Short term is 11 years or less and may not exceed 25 percent.

And here's the biggest part: "The length of durational alimony may not exceed 50-percent of the length of the marriage."

10 News spoke with two Bay area divorcees that are polar opposites. Mary Gross is a divorced mother of four. She was a housewife and was married for 25 years. She receives alimony every month. Gross says, "I do feel that I should get something."

Dale Castaldi is a divorced father. He has children from a previous marriage and pays out alimony every month. Castaldi says, "I was ordered to pay 3,000 dollars a month for life."

Both have very different opinions on what Governor Rick Scott should do with the alimony legislation.

Mary Gross doesn't like it, but Castaldi does. Gross, at 55 years old, says she and her husband agreed she'd stay home with the kids. He's the one, she says, who decided to leave the marriage. She did not want to divorce. She says she only asked for alimony and child support, but if this legislation goes through it will change everything she's planned for.

She says, "A lot of decisions I made during the divorce were based on the lifetime alimony, such as not taking the 401K or any retirement, because I thought that was fair."

Castaldi says he and his wife had some differences, and that's why they split up. He says she hired an attorney, but he didn't. He says, "The judge at the opening of the trial went right up and said, 'Can we close this case right now with a permanent alimony award?' And she didn't even hear the case."

He says he was ordered to shell out $3,000 a month, which is something he's done the past eight years, even though his six-figure salary at one point changed considerably. He says of his ex-wife, "She just chose to take the easy road because, quote, 'Because Florida law allowed me to.'"

Castaldi says he's pulled money out of his savings and his retirement fund to pay up, even though his ex-wife has worked as an administrator for years. "So, we're kind of, like, stuck in a life sentence that there's no end to it."

Divorce attorney Regina Hunter says, "Many people are saying that this is an anti-woman statue, that this is an anti-children statue, and you know I think it depends on your perspective on a case by case basis."

Governor Rick Scott will make the final decision on the alimony elimination bill. He just celebrated 41 years of marriage with his wife, Ann.

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