Florida Alimony Reform 2023

Florida Alimony Reform 2023

What is alimony and what has changed recently about the law in Florida?

Alimony is financial support from one spouse to another spouse during separation or divorce.

The bill eliminates permanent alimony, instead categorizing alimony into four groups: temporary, bridge-the-gap, rehabilitative, and durational alimony. Each of these can be paid in a lump sum or over time.

Temporary Alimony

Temporary alimony is interim support given while divorce proceedings or a Collaborative matter are ongoing. It is meant to provide and maintain the financial status quo of the marriage until there is finality on all the issues in the matter. The courts have traditionally granted these awards as interim solutions until the appropriate alimony award can be determined or otherwise agreed upon.

Bridge-The-Gap Alimony

Bridge-the-gap is awarded to assist a spouse that needs help in making the financial transition to single life. This form of alimony may not exceed two years in length, and is non-modifiable, in both duration and amount. While this form of alimony does not have a specific formula for calculation, it may not leave the payor (paying party) with significantly less net income than the receiving party (payee), without finding for exceptional circumstances.

Rehabilitative Alimony

Rehabilitative alimony is appropriate when there is a need to help a spouse develop certain skills or credentials in becoming self-supporting, allowing that spouse time to acquire necessary additional education, training, or experience, in order to obtain better employment. Rehabilitative alimony requires a specific and defined plan to accompany the award. It may not exceed five years, and can be modified or terminated if the plan is completed before the length of the award was originally set to expire.

In addition, it can be modified or terminated if there is a substantial change in circumstance, or upon a showing of noncompliance by the receiving party to adhere to the specified plan. This type of alimony does not have an exact calculation method either. However, it cannot leave the payor with significantly less net income than the net income of the recipient without finding of exceptional circumstances.

Durational Alimony

This type of alimony saw the most change in the recent reform. First, the statute prohibits a court from awarding durational alimony for a marriage lasting less than 3 years in length. The maximum length of durational alimony awarded is directly related to the length of the marriage. Durational alimony for a short-term marriage (less than 10 years) cannot exceed 50% of the length of the marriage. For example, a 5-year marriage cannot be awarded durational alimony that exceeds 2.5 years in length. Alimony for a moderate length marriage (10 to 20 years) may not exceed 60% of the length of the marriage, and alimony for a long-term marriage (over 20 years) may not exceed 75% of the length of the marriage.

There are also new limits on the amount of durational alimony that a court can award: it can either be the reasonable need of the recipient party to the extent that the payor can afford it, or an amount not to exceed 35% of the difference between the party’s net incomes, whichever is less.

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