What Does Alimony Reform Mean for Florida Residents?
Florida law changed on July 1, 2023. Permanent alimony is no more. Alimony can be durational, but it cannot exceed fifty percent of the time a short term marriage has taken place or sixty percent of the length of a moderate term marriage. Alimony may not exceed seventy five percent of the time a long term marriage has occurred. A short term marriage is one that has occurred for less than ten years. A moderate term marriage is defined as a marriage that is ten to twenty years in length, and a long term marriage is one that is twenty years or longer. Durational alimony is not available on marriages that are less than three years in length. Durational alimony may not exceed thirty five percent of the difference between the income of the parties. Retirement may be an event that can be used to justify a reduction in alimony.
What Types of Alimony Exist in Florida?
Florida law defines four separate types of alimony: temporary alimony, durational alimony, rehabilitative alimony, and bridge the gap alimony. Temporary alimony is designed to contribute to a party’s needs during the pendency of a divorce. Durational alimony is for a number of years. Rehabilitative alimony is intended to provide training or education to enable a spouse to become self supporting or to make a contribution toward their own support. Rehabilitative alimony cannot exceed five years. Trial courts may award one or any combination of these four types of alimony. An award of alimony may not leave the Obligor with less income than the net income of the Obligee without a finding of exceptional circumstances.
How Will the Court Determine What Type of Alimony is Applicable?
The courts must consider whether the spouse seeking support can prove that they have a need for such support. The court must also make a finding that the other party has the ability to pay support. The burden to prove the need for support and the other party’s ability to pay will be on the party seeking alimony.
How Can I Avoid Paying Alimony?
A prenuptial agreement could be used to agree in advance that neither spouse will be required to pay alimony upon divorce. Additionally, a couple can negotiate an uncontested divorce whereby all the terms and conditions of the divorce are already decided before the final hearing. The author believes that such will lead to the least costly dissolution in most cases.
Can Adultery Affect Whether of Not a Party is Awarded Alimony?
Under the new Florida law, Adultery will usually be considered to determine if the party committing adultery (the guilty spouse) has dissipated marital assets.
About the author
Neil Weinreb is a licensed Florida attorney who has been practicing law for over 18 years in North Florida. Mr. Weinreb received the highest possible rating from Martindale Hubbell, AV Pre-eminent. Mr. Weinreb works for the Law Office of David M. Goldman in Jacksonville, Florida and he regularly handles family law matters. Mr. Weinreb has worked as an adjunct professor teaching law to paralegal students at Jones College in Jacksonville, Florida. You can contact Mr. Weinreb at the Law Office of David M. Goldman for a free initial consultation.