Earlier this year, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed into law a bill that significantly alters how alimony works in the state. The new series of laws went into effect on July 1, 2023, which means that the following information only applies to any dissolutions that were pending on July 1 or occur after that date.
Let’s take a look at how the alimony reforms in Florida can affect a divorce case.
Florida Eliminates Permanent Alimony
Permanent alimony was a type of alimony that existed in Florida until recently. It required one spouse to provide the other with financial support for the rest of their life or until a judge ordered the termination.
Critics of permanent alimony allege that it was unfair to the people who were required to pay it, while those who support permanent alimony argue that it’s necessary to help a spouse who may have sacrificed education or a career for domestic duties.
Nevertheless, this type of alimony is no longer an option for any new divorces in Florida.
Florida Changes the Definition of Marriage Duration
How long a marriage lasted is an important factor when calculating alimony. Generally, the longer the marriage’s duration, the greater the amount of alimony ordered.
That said, Florida redefined marriage duration in the following manner:
- Short-term marriages are now 10 years (previously seven years).
- Moderate-term marriages are now 10-20 years (previously 7-17 years).
- Long-term marriages are now 20 years or longer (previously 17 or more years).
By adding years to these definitions, the state effectively raises the bar for eligibility for certain types of alimony.
Other Changes to Florida’s Alimony Laws
Other changes to Florida’s alimony laws affect rehabilitative and durational alimony. Rehabilitation alimony may be awarded in a divorce when the receiving spouse plans to gain skills or credentials that could help them find self-sustaining work. Florida’s new law requires that any order for rehabilitation alimony can’t exceed five years.
Durational alimony is a temporary alimony that was usually ordered in divorces concerning short-term and moderate-term marriages. Now, any durational alimony ordered can’t exceed the recipient’s needs or 35% of the difference in net incomes between the spouses, whichever is less.
Additionally, durational alimony may not last more than half of the duration of a short-term marriage, not more than 60% of a moderate-term marriage, and not more than 75% of a long-term marriage. Durational alimony is also not an option for any short-term marriage that lasted fewer than three years.
Do Florida’s New Alimony Laws Affect Me?
Florida’s new alimony laws may only affect you if your divorce was pending on July 1, 2023, or you’re filing for divorce after this date. That said, there could be legal implications in the future should you or your spouse file to modify the alimony order.
If you have questions regarding your specific legal situation, it’s important to consult with an experienced family law attorney who can help. We at Beatriz Zyne, P.A. can provide the legal support you need to understand how changes in law may affect your divorce.
Contact us today to request a consultation.