Understanding the Changes in Alimony in the State of Florida

alimony law changes florida

Category: Divorce

Many new laws were signed enacted this year in the state of Florida. Some of the new laws were aimed at family and divorce law. Among these changes was the end of so-called “permanent alimony”.

As you may know, alimony is monetary assistance that a person is required to provide for their spouse during a separation or after a divorce by a court. The idea behind this institution is to make it so one side doesn’t walk away with all of the monetary value that may have been accumulated while the couple was together.

The new law puts a cap on the amount of years a person receives alimony. The new law (enacted on July 1) sets clearly defined limits on how long anyone can expect to make or receive alimony payments after a marriage is over.

Short-term Marriages

For those marriages lasting less than a decade, the new law dictates that the spouse receiving the alimony can not receive the payments for more than half of the total time that they were married. An example would be that if a couple were married eight years, the alimony would last for four years.

Longer Marriages

Any marriage lasting between 10-20 years allow alimony to be paid up to 60% of the total time married. So if a couple were married 20 years then alimony would be paid for 12 years.

Marriages over 20 years will qualify for up to 75% of the length of the marriage.

The law is new and is NOT applied retroactively. If a spouse thinks they received a bad deal before July 1 of this year they can still fight for more money but the law which existed prior to July 1st is what will be used for the case.

A prominent divorce attorney in Melbourne FL said the following: “The new law is geared toward the assumption that both parties are working. In circumstances when couples were married for more than 17 years, the previous law permitted permanent alimony. In lower- and middle-class homes, gender roles had not been taken for granted for decades; husbands and fathers were the breadwinners, and wives and mothers were responsible for taking care of the home. In those conditions, a divorce would be disastrous for the woman. Alimony made it better.

The person who gains the least from the new law can be identified, she said. It’s the homemaker, the older woman. They are the ones who will suffer the most.”

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