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Fort Myers Florida Family Law Legal Blog

New bill could end permanent alimony

On Behalf of | Apr 5, 2022 | Divorce |

In Florida, alimony, also referred to as spousal support, is a frequent topic of dispute in family law. This is true in any type of divorce regardless of financial circumstances, but those who have significant assets are especially prone to disagreements over the amount, the duration for which it will be paid and other issues. People who are paying and receiving alimony should be cognizant of potential changes to the law as it could affect them in myriad ways. A new bill that is close to being made into law is one such change. Those who were divorced in the past, are in the middle of a divorce or are considering one should be aware of its ramifications.

Understanding how the alimony laws would change

As of this writing, the bill has not yet become law. Should the bill be signed into law by Gov. Ron DeSantis, there would no longer be permanent alimony as part of a divorce. The template would change where the duration of the marriage would limit how long alimony would be paid. For example, if the marriage lasted for 20 or more years, alimony could not go beyond 75% of the marriage’s duration. A 20-year marriage would maximize the time for which alimony is paid to 15 years. Marriages that lasted from 10 to 20 years would be at 60%. A marriage from three to 10 years would be 50%. In certain cases, the duration could be extended. It is determined case-by-case.

In addition, it is retroactive and the way the amount is calculated would fundamentally change. This is stoking concern among people whose cases were completed and might be subject to reduction or termination if the law passes. If a person is receiving alimony and is simultaneously being supported by another person, the paying former spouse could ask that the payments be stopped. Advocates claim that this bill would promote fairness in alimony awards. Detractors say that people who had a defined duration for which they would receive alimony payments would be damaged by the sudden change. Budgets could be ruined and they might not know how they will make ends meet.

Current and potential new alimony laws can impact a case

Although this law has not yet been passed, people who have concerns about it should pay attention to its progress. This is true from the perspective of the paying party and the receiving party. While this could be problematic in any case, those who are part of a high net worth divorce should be prepared as substantial amounts will be at stake. For this and any other area of family law, consulting with experienced professionals may be essential.