If a court is so disposed as to order alimony, a finding of fact must be made as to the type of alimony and how long it should be paid.
Florida Alimony law is changing dramatically in 2023. HB 1416 is on the desk of the governor for the third and a compromise has been reached between members of the Florida Law Family Law Section. The main source of division was the “First Wives” and what’s known as permanent alimony. Under the new bill, a process has been implemented wherein former spouses who make alimony payments can seek modification when they’re ready to retire. That would allow a judge to modify or terminate alimony payments. Even certain supplemental petitions to modify or terminate could be affected. This law became effective on July 1, 2023.
No Permanent Alimony in Florida
Under HB 1416, permanent alimony is eliminated. Florida will recognize the following four types of alimony ordered in lump sum or installments, depending on the facts of the case:
- Bridge the gap.
- Rehabilitative for up to five years.
- Durational for a certain period of time.
How Courts Might Consider New Types of Alimony
If a court is so disposed as to order alimony, a finding of fact must be made as to the type of alimony and how long it should be paid. The party seeking the award has the burden of proof. If alimony is to be secured with life insurance, special circumstances must be demonstrated. Other factors that the court must consider are:
- Anticipated need and necessities of life after the divorce.
- The lifestyle of the parties during the marriage.
- If the mental health of a party is raised, whether the condition is permanent or temporary.
- Whether a party can obtain an education or skills to contribute to their own survival.
- Adultery by either party to the marriage and the resulting economic impact.
Get a Job
Under this legislation, unless a person is of retirement age or otherwise has a valid reason not to work, he or she is going to have to find a job. That individual can bring medical and/or vocational records to court to support their condition but expect the maker of those records to be cross-examined vigorously.
Durational Alimony Changes
The legislation also makes changes to durational alimony. It won’t be awarded in a marriage of less than three years. It’s not to exceed 50% in a marriage of less than 10 years, 60% for 10-20 years and 75% for a marriage of 20 years or more. Believe it or not, this would be an improvement to payors over the old statute.
Alimony Formula Guidelines
The legislation also proposed alimony formula guidelines for the amount of any alimony to be paid. This is cataclysmic, considering that courts previously had total discretion over the amount to be paid. Any amount of alimony to be paid would need to be reasonable or not to exceed 35% of the difference between the net incomes of the parties, whichever is less.
HB 1416 still has been signed by Governor DeSantis and took effect July 1. The “First Wives” club may have been left behind in the compromise. If you are facing a divorce, a Tampa divorce lawyer can help you understand these complex new Florida alimony laws.