Florida alimony law appears set to change this year. A bill has cleared the house and senate and is waiting for the Governor’s signature.
The bill sets forth 9 factors set forth to be considered in determining alimony. (1) First need and ability to pay, the burden being on the moving party to establish their need and the other side’s ability to pay. If that is established the court will then consider: (2) the parties standard of living during the intact marriage and anticipated needs of both parties after a divorce is granted; (3) the length of the parties’ marriage; (4) the parties’ ages and physical and mental conditions; (5) the income and resources of each party and any income earned from marital and non marital assets; (6) the earning capacity, educational level and employability of the parties; (7) the ability of each party to obtain skills or education to enable themselves to contribute to their own support or become self-supporting; (8) the contributions that each party made to the marriage including education, career building, homemaking, and child care, the responsibility that each party will have in raising children that the parties have in common; and (9) any other factor the courts of equity and justice should consider in making an alimony award including whether a supportive relationship exists or that one of the parties may reasonably retire.
In regard to the duration of marriage, the bill has defined a short-term marriage as a marriage that lasts less than 10 years; moderate-term marriage as a marriage that lasts between 10 and 20 years; and a long-term marriage will now be considered to be a marriage that lasts 20 years or more. The length of the marriage is considered to be the amount of time that has elapsed between the date of the marriage and the date of the filing for divorce.
The bill eliminates the term permanent alimony. The types of alimony per the bill are now temporary, bridge-the-gap, rehabilitative, and durational alimony. Courts may order alimony to be paid in a lump sum or as periodic payments.
The bill states, Bridge-the-gap alimony may be awarded to assist a party in making the transition from married to single life. It is intended to assist a party with identifiable, short-term needs. The length of an award of bridge-the-gap alimony may not exceed 2 years.
Rehabilitative alimony is intended to provide education and training that will enable a party to become self-supporting or contribute to their own support. An award of rehabilitative alimony may not exceed 5 years.
Durational alimony lasts for a set period of time. It may not exceed 50% of the length of a short-term marriage, 60% of the length of a moderate-term marriage, and 75% of the length of a long-term marriage. An award of durational alimony may be extended under exceptional circumstances based upon a consideration of the following 4 factors and the 9 factors listed above. (1) First, the extent to which the payee’s age and employability wholly or partially limit the payee’s ability to be self-supporting; (2) Second, the extent to which the payor’s available financial resources wholly or partially limit the payor’s ability to be self-supporting; (3), the extent to which a payee’s mental or physical disability wholly or partially limits the payee’s ability to be self-supporting; and (4), the extent to which a payee is the caregiver to the parties’ mentally or physically disabled child. The amount of durational alimony will be the amount that is required to meet the payee’s reasonable needs, or an amount that does not exceed 35% of the difference between the husband and wife’s net incomes, whichever amount is less.
An alimony award may not leave the obligor with significantly less net income than the net income of the obligee, unless there are exceptional circumstances
Courts will be permitted to consider the adultery of either spouse and its resulting economic impact in determining the amount of alimony to award.
The bill also states that in actions for modification, the court will be authorized to terminate or reduce an award of alimony when the payor has reached the normal retirement age. The normal retirement age will be considered to be the normal retirement age specified by the Social Security Administration, or the customary retirement age for the payor’s profession. The payor must actually retire or make demonstrable efforts to retire. Retirement must reduce the payor’s ability to pay. The court will look at the following ten factors in determining whether to reduce or terminate alimony. First, the age and health of the payor. Second, the type of work performed by the payor. Third, the customary age of retirement in the payor’s profession. Fourth, the likelihood that the payor will return to work, and the payor’s motivation for retiring. Fifth, the needs of the party receiving alimony and that recipient’s ability to contribute to his or her own needs. Sixth, the impact that the termination or reduction of alimony would have on the payee. Seventh, the parties’ assets before, during and after the dissolution of marriage, and whether either of the parties wastefully dissipated assets received at the time of the divorce. Eighth, the income earned by the parties during and after the marriage. Ninth, the retirement, pension and Social Security Benefits received by the parties after the marriage. Tenth, the payor’s compliance with his or her alimony obligation. A payor may file a Supplemental Petition for Modification six months prior to the date of retirement.
If you have questions about alimony and the changes in alimony law please call us to schedule a consultation on (786) 539-4935.