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Florida Alimony Laws 2023: A Comprehensive Overview of the Latest Changes

Updated: Aug 29, 2023

Until June 2023, Florida courts considered four types of alimony: permanent, durational, rehabilitative, and bridge-the-gap. But July 1, 2023, saw Florida's new alimony law come into effect.

The non-retroactive bill SB 1416 law ends permanent alimony, and now courts must consider new factors in awarding alimony. The law further sets a five-year limit on rehabilitative alimony, allows modifications under certain conditions, and much more. Here's what every couple should know.

What are the New Forms of Alimony in Florida?

The new law updates the legal system to match the changing dynamics of modern family relationships. It removes permanent alimony, creates different categories, and considers supportive relationships and retirement.

Changes to parenting plan modifications also gain a practical and flexible approach to modern-day family dynamics. Overall, the reforms are expected to bring fairness, clarity, and fair outcomes for everyone involved.

The Three Types of Alimony are:

  1. Bridge-the-gap alimony: Cannot exceed two years and no modification to amount or duration.

  2. Rehabilitative alimony: Cannot exceed five years and can be modified or terminated based on specific circumstances.

  3. Durational alimony: Provides economic support for a predetermined period and cannot be granted for marriages that lasted less than three years.

How Does This Affect You?

Here is a breakdown of the specific changes the Bill SB 1416 reforms make to Florida's alimony laws:

● Limits the length of alimony awards: For long-term marriages (20 years or more), alimony will be capped at 75% of the marriage length. For moderate-term marriages (10-19 years), the cap will be 60% of the marriage length. Lastly, for short-term marriages (0-9 years), the cap will be 50% of the marriage length.

● Limits the amount of alimony awarded and caps at 35% of the difference between the parties' incomes.

● It's now more challenging to change alimony awards because there must be a significant change in circumstances to modify.

● Where the court orders the obligor to buy life insurance to secure the alimony award, they must provide specific written findings. The rule protects the obligee if the obligor passes away while the alimony award is still in effect.

● In cases where a supportive relationship is found, the court must reduce or end the alimony award. The court needs to make specific written findings to prevent alimony from supporting a spouse living with someone else.

● Retirement standards and procedures in a divorce case are now clearly defined on how alimony awards can be modified or ended when one spouse retires.

● If a parent moves 50 miles within their child's main home, it is considered a significant change in circumstances. Therefore, the parent who moves within this distance may modify or end their spousal support award.

● One crucial change is eliminating the requirement for a party to prove that a change in circumstances was unforeseen to modify their parenting plan and time-sharing schedule. This change makes it simpler for parents to modify their plans or schedule if circumstances change.

Relevant Factors in Determining Alimony:

(a) The duration of the marriage.

(b) The standard of living established during the marriage and the anticipated needs and necessities of life for each party after the entry of the final judgment.

(c) The age, physical, mental, and emotional condition of each party, including whether either party is physically or mentally disabled and the resulting impact on either the obligee’s ability to provide for his or her own needs or the obligor’s ability to pay alimony and whether such conditions are expected to be temporary or permanent.

(d) The resources and income of each party, including the income generated from both nonmarital and marital assets.

(e) The earning capacities, educational levels, vocational skills, and employability of the parties, including the ability of either party to obtain the necessary skills or education to become self-supporting or to contribute to his or her self-support prior to the termination of the support, maintenance, or alimony award.

(f) The contribution of each party to the marriage, including, but not limited to, services rendered in homemaking, childcare, education, and career building of the other party.

(g) The responsibilities each party will have with regard to any minor children whom the parties have in common, with special consideration given to the need to care for a child with a mental or physical disability.

If you're going through a divorce and would like to understand how to go through the process in a more civil, time efficient and far less expensive method, contact TRIDIALOGUE MEDIATION INC. @ 772-226-7112.

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