Alimony Legislation And The Changes
After multiple years and many attempts to modify the alimony statutes in Florida, the House and Senate both approved SB 1416. On May 2, 2023, the bill was ordered enrolled in the Florida Senate and it has been presented to Governor DeSantis. If the Bill is approved/adopted, it will become law July 1, 2023. In fact, the bill will apply to all initial petitions for dissolution of marriage that are filed or pending on July 1, 2023, and to qualifying supplemental petitions for modification of alimony.
The new bill contains many changes in the prior alimony law and adds a formula and some guidelines for judges in alimony cases. For example, the new law would eliminate permanent alimony. Alimony will be limited to: temporary, bridge-the-gap, rehabilitative and durational alimony. Alimony can still be paid in a lump sum or as periodic payments, which has not changed. Each type of alimony has its own parameters with regard to the amount and length of the award.
With regard to modifying alimony, the new law will generally create a broader defense for paying spouses who need to terminate alimony based on the former spouse being involved in a supportive relationship. The court may also terminate or reduce alimony when the paying spouse has reached the retirement age, which is considered retirement age set forth by the Social Security Administration, or it could be the customary retirement age for the paying spouse’s occupation. The requesting party has to truly retire or make real efforts to retire, and there must be a real reduction in income.
The new bill will also allow courts to consider the adultery of either spouse and its resulting economic impact in determining the amount of alimony to award. There are also nine additional factors a judge will evaluate in determining whether to award alimony, and if so, how much and for how long.
The new alimony law will change the definition of the length of the marriage in order to qualify for alimony. A short-term marriage will be a marriage of ten years or less. A moderate-term marriage will be a marriage between ten and twenty years. A long-term marriage will be a marriage of twenty years or more. The length of the marriage is measured from the date of the marriage to the date the divorce is filed.
Both Governor DeSantis and former Governor Rick Scott vetoed prior proposed changes in the alimony law. Today, the new alimony bill has the support of many, including the Florida Bar’s Family Law Section. Many critics of the bill worried about retroactive application; however, that does not appear to be the case as it will not impact existing alimony obligations in that way.
Contact a Jacksonville Divorce Lawyer
To learn how this alimony bill could impact your life, contact our Jacksonville divorce lawyers at The Lasky Law Firm.