Are you a Florida resident going through a messy divorce and concerned about alimony payments? Well, you’re not alone. Florida has passed a monumental alimony reform bill that stands to reshape divorce outcomes across the state.
On March 10, 2022, legislators approved the most sweeping changes to Florida’s alimony laws in recent history. Championed by Governor Ron DeSantis, this new legislation completely eliminates permanent lifetime alimony and places major limits on the duration and amount of alimony payments.
Whether you’re currently negotiating your divorce or planning for one ahead, it’s essential to learn about Florida’s alimony reform and how it may affect you.
This blog will delve into the different types of alimony in Florida and discuss how the new law aims to reduce or terminate alimony payments altogether.
In Florida, three types of alimony may be awarded by courts depending on the circumstances of the divorce, including bridge-the-gap, rehabilitative, and durational.
Determining alimony can be complex as judges have wide discretion in this process. Therefore, understanding these types can provide better clarity regarding what you might expect in your particular situation.
The move to eliminate permanent alimony has been a hot topic in Florida for quite some time now. This controversial change is part of an overriding alimony reform that is gaining momentum in the state.
Under this new reform, the concept of permanent alimony will end. It’s designed to ensure that financial support isn’t infinite and potentially burdening one party indefinitely. Instead, payments would be made for a set period post-divorce with clear expectations defined from the onset, providing an incentive for recipients to become financially independent.
In addition to eliminating permanent alimony, the bill also places stricter limits on how long other forms of alimony can be awarded. The duration of payments is now capped based on the length of the marriage.
Longer marriages allow for longer payment terms, but durational alimony may not be awarded for a marriage of less than three years.
The law also specifies that rehabilitative alimony cannot exceed 5 years in duration. This will require courts to better define the purpose and goals of each alimony award within the new narrow timeframes.
Florida’s alimony reform law also mandates that the amount of alimony should not exceed the recipient’s “reasonable need,” or 35% of the difference between the spouses’ net monthly incomes, whichever is less.
This income-based calculation places an objective cap on monthly payment amounts, preventing any perceived windfalls for recipients. It brings consistency and formulas into a process that was previously left largely to a judge’s discretion.
The new law also overhauls the procedures around a paying spouse’s retirement and subsequent alimony modification. Specific factors must be considered if a paying spouse seeks to amend alimony upon retirement, and they may apply for modification of the alimony award no sooner than 6 months prior to the planned retirement.
Additionally, if a paying spouse can show the recipient is in a “supportive relationship,” this may constitute grounds to reduce or terminate alimony under the new rules.
While intended to address perceived unfairness, this provision essentially incentivizes the paying ex-spouse to monitor or even surveil their former partner’s new relationships.
Navigating Florida’s new alimony laws can be overwhelming, so don’t hesitate to reach out to Vasquez de Lara Law Group’s family law attorneys for guidance. With our knowledge and experience in family law, we’re well-equipped to handle any issues you may face regarding alimony reform in Florida.
Whether you’re unsure how it might affect your alimony payments or you need assistance modifying an existing agreement, our team is ready to provide the help you need.
Contact us today to protect your interests during this challenging time.