Once again, the Florida legislature began considering an alimony reform bill that aims to significantly limit awards of permanent alimony. Legislators have repeatedly been proposing bills to amend the state’s laws regarding spousal support in a divorce, and this attempt has stalled in the Senate once again due to certain time-sharing provisions included. However, the proposal again raises the question of whether permanent alimony might come to an end in Florida sooner than later.
Permanent Alimony in Florida
Florida is one of just a handful of states that still has laws allowing judges to award permanent alimony in some situations, which requires one former spouse to provide financial support to the other, potentially for the rest of their lives. Permanent alimony will only end if the recipient remarries or passes away, or if one or both parties experience a significant change in circumstances and obtains a modification or termination from the family court.
Some factors that can lead to an award of permanent alimony include:
- Long marriages
- One spouse earns a living, and the other does not
- The recipient spouse could not maintain their standard of living post-divorce
- The recipient spouse is older, in poor health, or has not worked in many years
- The recipient sacrificed their career to contribute to the household and family and to support the other spouse’s education or career
Permanent alimony can be a costly matter in divorce, as it is often highly contentious and requires court intervention. For this reason, among others, legislators have long been trying to reform alimony laws to limit permanent alimony awards.
What Alimony Reform Might Look Like
In this most recent proposal, legislators proposed that alimony could only be awarded for half of the length of the marriage with two exceptions:
- The recipient has medical conditions or is caring for a disabled child
- The marriage lasted for 20 years or longer, in which case alimony could be awarded for 75 percent of the length of the marriage
While alimony awards could still be lengthy under reformed laws, spouses would not have to worry about being subject to an indefinite alimony order.
Modifying or Terminating Alimony
If you are currently paying alimony under a court order, future legislative reform would not apply retroactively. Instead, if circumstances have changed and you believe your alimony order should be modified or terminated, you should speak with an experienced Brandon divorce lawyer. We help clients revisit existing orders and demonstrate that they deserve a modification or early termination of an alimony order.
Contact a Brandon Alimony Attorney to Learn More
Alimony is often an adversarial issue, whether you are getting a divorce or facing a possible modification case. In either situation, the outcome of your alimony issue can impact your life for a long time, whether you are the paying or receiving spouse. You want the Brandon divorce attorneys of Carman & Bevington protecting your rights, so please call 813-305-0631 or contact us online for more information today.