Updated: Aug 3
On June 30, 2023, Florida made significant changes to its alimony rules. The reform eliminates permanent alimony and introduces four distinct types of alimony: temporary, bridge-the-gap, rehabilitative, and durational. Additionally, the legislation lays down specific factors to be considered by courts when determining alimony awards. In this blog, we will delve into the details of the new alimony rules in Florida.
Elimination of Permanent Alimony
One of the most significant changes in the alimony reform is the elimination of permanent alimony. Instead, Florida will now have four types of alimony, each designed to address different needs and situations:
Temporary Alimony: Intended to provide financial support to a spouse during the divorce process until a final alimony determination is made.
Bridge-the-Gap Alimony: Aims to assist a spouse in transitioning from married to single life, catering to short-term needs. This type of alimony may not exceed 2 years.
Rehabilitative Alimony: Meant to support a spouse while they pursue education or training to become self-supporting or contribute to their own needs. The maximum duration for rehabilitative alimony is 5 years.
Durational Alimony: Awarded for a set period of time, the length of which depends on the duration of the marriage. It may be extended under exceptional circumstances based on specific factors. It may not exceed 50% of the length of a short-term marriage, 60% of the length of a moderate-term marriage, and 75% of the length of a long-term marriage. The amount of durational alimony will be the amount that is required to meet the payee’s reasonable needs, or an amount that does not exceed 35% of the difference between the husband and wife’s net incomes, whichever amount is less.
Consideration of Adultery
In another notable shift, the new alimony rules permit courts to consider the adultery of either spouse and its economic impact while determining the amount of alimony to award. This change acknowledges the potential financial consequences resulting from extramarital affairs and aims to provide a fair evaluation of the situation.
Factors Considered in Alimony Determination
The alimony reform introduces a set of nine factors that Florida courts must consider when determining alimony awards. These factors are pivotal in ensuring that alimony decisions are made with careful consideration of the parties' needs and abilities. They are as follows:
The actual need for support of the party seeking alimony and the ability of the other party to pay.
The standard of living during the marriage and the anticipated needs of both parties after the divorce.
The duration of the marriage.
The age, physical, and mental condition of both parties.
The income and resources of both parties, including income earned from marital and nonmarital assets.
The earning capacities, educational levels, and employability of both parties. Courts will consider whether either party can obtain the necessary skills or education to contribute to their own support or become self-supporting.
The contributions made by each party to the marriage, such as education, career building, homemaking, and child care.
The responsibilities each party will have in raising any shared children.
Any other relevant factor that courts of equity and justice should consider in making an alimony award. This includes considerations such as the existence of a supportive relationship or the potential for reasonable retirement.
Classification of Marriages
The alimony reform classifies marriages into three categories: short-term, moderate-term, and long-term. The length of the marriage is determined by the time between the date of the marriage and the date of the filing for divorce. This classification is crucial as it affects the duration of durational alimony awards, ensuring that support aligns with the length of the marriage. Short-term will be less than 10 years, moderate between 10-20 years, and long marriage will be more than 20 years.
Ensuring Fairness in Retirement Age Termination
The reform also addresses alimony termination when the payor reaches the normal retirement age. In such cases, the court will consider ten specific factors before deciding whether to reduce or terminate alimony. These factors include the payor's age, health, profession, motivation for retirement, the recipient's needs and ability to contribute, the impact on the recipient, assets, income earned during the marriage, and retirement, pension, and Social Security benefits received post-marriage. A payor may file a Supplemental Petition for Modification six months prior to the date of retirement, ensuring a smooth transition for both parties.
If you need help with your divorce case, or modification of alimony, do not hesitate to contact us. At Y. Morejon Attorney, P.A. we can help you with your family case. Here, your problem is our problem.
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