Florida Ends Permanent Alimony: Facts to Know
After a few attempts to reform spousal support laws in Florida were vetoed in recent years, lawmakers successfully passed a measure that ends permanent alimony. Senate Bill 1416 was signed into law by the governor on June 30, 2023, and affects cases pending or filed after July 1, 2023. By terminating permanent alimony, the legislature eliminates a type of spousal support that had no time limit and could extend for the rest of the recipient’s life. Proponents of the law view it as a win because of the implications for payors. Some individuals were forced to put off retirement or suffer financial stress because of permanent alimony obligations. Opponents of the bill see it as exacerbating economic inequality particularly in instances where one spouse was the primary wage earner.
Still, the law that ends permanent alimony in Florida also affects other aspects of support. If you are going through divorce, you should be aware of how the statute will affect your case. A Dade City alimony attorney can explain the updates and advise you on the impacts, whether you are a potential payor or recipient. Some facts about SB 1416 are also useful.
Four Types of Alimony Remain: Spousal support is not going away, but the elimination of permanent alimony leaves four types:
- Temporary, which is paid while the divorce case is pending;
- Bridge-the gap payments that help a party transition to a single income lifestyle;
- Rehabilitative alimony, to support the recipient with training, education, and other efforts to be self-sufficient; and,
- Durational, which pays alimony for a set period of time based upon the circumstances.
Burden of Proof with Alimony: The party seeking support must prove that there is a need for alimony and that the other party has the ability to pay. After getting over this initial threshold, the judge will weigh different factors to determine the type, amount, or duration. The court may order alimony as periodic payments or a lump sum.
Limits on Different Types of Alimony: Two types of spousal support will be restricted in terms of time. Bridge-the-gap aims at short-term financial needs, so there is a limit of 2 years. Rehabilitative alimony cannot exceed 5 years, which lawmakers determined was sufficient time for recipients to gain the education and training necessary to support themselves.
Adultery and Alimony: With enactment of the alimony reform law, courts will now be allowed to review evidence of cheating when making decisions on spousal support. In evaluating the amount of alimony, a judge can assess:
- Adultery by either spouse, the potential payor or recipient;
- How cheating affected the marriage economically; and,
- The impact on the innocent spouse.
Duration of Marriages: The statute updates definitions to state that a short-term marriage is less than 10 years, a moderate-length marriage is 10 to 20 years, and a long-term marriage lasts at least 20 years.
Caps on Alimony: The new alimony law puts caps on the percentage of the payors income can be paid toward alimony based upon the number of years married.
Get Additional Details from a Florida Alimony Lawyer
These are important points to know about how the end of permanent alimony could affect your divorce case. It is wise to retain legal representation to handle the details, so please contact The Law Office of Laurie R. Chane. Individuals in Pasco County can call 352-567-0055 or go online to set up a consultation.