Florida’s Alimony Landscape Could Change Drastically: What You Need to Know

Florida's Alimony Landscape Could Change Drastically: What You Need to Know

Every family law practitioner in Florida and anyone considering a divorce is once again waiting on the Governor’s decision. Last year, Governor DeSantis let a bill die on his desk on July 1, 2022, which would have altered and removed permanent periodic alimony. This year, all eyes are on Senate Bill 1416 to see if it will pass into law or face the same fate.

What Changes Does Senate Bill 1416 Propose?

The bill addresses several key areas: it aims to eliminate unforeseen changes in modifications, provide a clearer definition of supportive relationships, and most notably, reform alimony laws. If signed into law, SB 1416 would bring significant changes to alimony in Florida, ending permanent alimony and introducing a new approach focused on fairness, individual circumstances, and encouraging self-sufficiency.

These changes are poised to reshape divorce settlements and alimony awards. This blog will explore the critical alimony changes introduced by SB 1416 and what they could mean for you, whether you’re contemplating divorce, currently in the process, or considering modifying your existing alimony arrangement.

The End of Permanent Alimony in Florida

One of the most significant changes in SB 1416 is the elimination of permanent alimony. Instead, Florida will recognize four types of alimony:

  • Temporary
  • Bridge-the-gap
  • Rehabilitative (with a new maximum duration of 5 years)
  • Durational

These types of support can be awarded as lump-sum payments or periodic installments, depending on the specifics of the case.

New Considerations in Alimony Awards

The proposed law introduces several additional factors for courts to consider when determining alimony. Courts must now provide a finding of fact not only for the type of alimony awarded (if any) but also the basis for its duration. The bill codifies existing case law by establishing that the burden of proof for need and ability to pay rests on the party seeking alimony. Additionally, it specifies that securing alimony with life insurance requires special circumstances.

Courts must also consider the anticipated needs and necessities of life post-litigation, not just the lifestyle during the marriage. Factors such as a party’s mental health (whether permanent or temporary), their ability to gain skills or education for self-support, and the economic consequences of adultery are now included in the considerations.

Implications for Alimony Seekers

If you’re seeking alimony, you might need to provide substantial evidence of your need for support. The bill does not change or clarify the definition of “need,” which remains a point of contention among District Courts (a potential issue for the Supreme Court to address). Unless you are of retirement age or unable to work, you will likely be expected to seek employment, supported by medical records or expert testimony if you claim incapacity.

Changes to Durational Alimony

The new law also revises the structure of durational alimony. It cannot be awarded in marriages lasting less than three years. The duration of alimony is now capped at 50% of a short-term marriage (less than 10 years), 60% of a moderate-term marriage (10-20 years), and 75% of a long-term marriage (over 20 years).

For the first time, a formula for calculating the amount of alimony is introduced. Previously, courts had broad discretion as long as the payor was not left destitute. Now, durational alimony is determined by reasonable need or up to 35% of the difference between the parties’ net incomes, whichever is less.

Fort Lauderdale & Miami Alimony Attorney

The potential introduction of SB 1416 marks significant changes in Florida’s alimony landscape, emphasizing fairness and self-sufficiency while acknowledging the financial needs post-divorce. Understanding these changes and how they apply to your situation can be complex.

Maria Indelicato, a family law attorney at Aaron Delgado & Associates, is here to help. With extensive knowledge and experience in Florida family law, Maria can provide insights into these reforms, their potential impact on your case, and guide you through your family law matters with compassion and expertise.

Don’t navigate these significant changes alone. Reach out to Maria for the legal advice and support you need during this transitional time. Contact Maria today to schedule a consultation and begin the process of understanding and addressing your unique family law needs.

My name is Attorney Gabriel Carrera, and I am here to help you. Call my law firm to set up a free 15-30 minute consultation to review your case and get a quote. Please call 954-533-7593 to take the first steps toward your dissolution of marriage!