On behalf of Ronald H. Kauffman, P.A. posted in Alimony on Wednesday, March 20, 2013.
alimony is up for debate again in Florida. This year though, the reforms are HUGE. The Florida Senate Bill is 718 and the Florida House bill is 231, and they are being debated in Tallahassee right now. You can read the Senate bill here. Some of the items in the new bills which are creating a stir are:
Factors for awarding alimony
- The bill deletes the standard of living enjoyed during a marriage factor.
- There would be a new presumption that both parties will have a reduced standard of living.
- Courts must impute income to an unemployed spouse.
- The bill adds 3 years to each category of marriage (short, moderate and long).
- There would be a presumption against alimony for short-term marriages.
Amends Alimony Types
- Permanent periodic alimony is eliminated.
- Alimony types would be prioritized, so that bridge-the-gap is considered first, then rehabilitative, lastly, durational alimony.
- A court couldn’t award alimony for more than half the length of the marriage without clear and convincing evidence.
- The bill limits the cases in which a court could award combinations of alimony.
Modifies Alimony Modifications
- The retirement of the paying spouse would become a substantial change in circumstances.
- Alimony would automatically terminate at normal retirement age.
- Alimony must be reduced or terminated if the payee spouse is in a supportive relationship.
- The new law would apply to all orders entered before the bill became law, so the bill itself would be grounds for modifying or terminating alimony.
- The bill would create a presumption in favor of equal time-sharing.
While some people support the Bills, some people hate it. The Family Law Section of the Florida Bar, for instance, is voicing strong opposition to this legislation, and pointing out some little-understood facts about alimony.
- Florida courts do not routinely award permanent alimony.
- Florida courts can ONLY award permanent alimony after making findings of fact that no other form of alimony is fair and reasonable.
- Permanent alimony awards are almost always in long-term marriages.
- Permanent alimony is always modifiable.
- Florida courts cannot order permanent non-modifiable alimony.