** UPDATE ** See “Alimony Reform Bill Passed in Florida, Now Before The Governor“
It’s only a matter of time before Florida’s alimony statute is finally revised. The last effort came in 2013, but was vetoed by Governor Rick Scott because it would have allowed anyone paying alimony to modify their support obligation retroactively. This time, that provision (so far) has been kept out of the proposed bill. However, permanent alimony will be eliminated. In addition, there will likely be language which clearly states that both parties have a right to retire — thus allowing retirement to be reason to reduce or modify an alimony obligation.
Alimony Will Now Have a “Guidelines” Approach
And for the first time ever, alimony will have a guidelines approach, much like child support is calculated. It will be based on things like the length of the marriage and the income of each spouse. There will be starting and ending dates, giving predictability to families going through a divorce. Personally, I welcome these changes. Until now, judges have had broad discretion to decide both the amount and length of an alimony award. This makes if difficult to give practical advice to anyone who may have to pay alimony. A guidelines approach will also make it easier to resolve alimony disputes at mediation, potentially saving clients thousands of dollars from litigating this issue.
We have handled many alimony disputes over the years, and we can assist anyone who has an alimony issue in his or her case. If you are facing a case which involves alimony in Ocala, Gainesville, Ponte Vedra Beach, or anywhere in Northeast or North Central Florida, please give us a call. We will be happy to meet with you.