Judy Michau worked hard most of her life and made a good effort to save for her retirement. But two years ago, the 67-year-old from Tamarac got divorced after she said her ex-husband blew through his retirement account and spent wildly on vehicles.
Her reward for sound planning all those years? Because she has more money than her ex, she’s the one paying alimony, to the tune of $558 a month. While she drives a 2001 Buick LeSabre and scrapes to get by, her ex-husband drives a much newer $27,000 truck.
“The laws definitely need to be changed. They aren’t working anymore,” said Michau, 67, who feels she was penalized in court for working and saving for decades while she says her ex-husband quickly exhausted his retirement savings.
To press for reform, Michau joined a new group, Florida Women for Alimony Reform, who are among those trying once again to present Gov. Rick Scott with a bill they say would modernize the state’s archaic alimony statutes.
Last May, Scott vetoed a bill that would have drastically overhauled alimony law, capping and sometimes eliminating payments.
Scott said “as a father, husband and grandfather,” he could not support the legislation because in some cases it would have retroactively affected some getting alimony.
“He listened to the legitimate concerns of the majority,” said Jan Killilea of Boca Raton who started First Wives First to protect lifelong caregivers — women mostly in their 60s who would be left destitute if they didn’t continue to receive their monthly alimony checks.