The End of Permanent Alimony
With cooperation between the Florida Bar’s Family Law Section and the Florida Legislature, Fla. Stat. § 61.08 has been amended to eliminate “Permanent Alimony.” For many years, after a “long-term” marriage, “Permanent Alimony” was awarded to the spouse in need, from the supportive, higher earning spouse. Now, for actions pending or filed on or after July 1, 2023, other forms of alimony may be available, but not “Permanent Alimony.”
What types of Alimony can be awarded in Florida?
In actions for dissolution of marriage or support unconnected with dissolution of marriage, alimony can still be ordered in the form or forms of: Temporary Alimony, Durational Alimony, Rehabilitative Alimony, and Bridge-the-Gap Alimony. Alimony payments can be ordered to be paid in periodic installments and/or in a lump sum.
When is an Award of Alimony Appropriate?
In certain cases, one spouse will be entitled to Alimony or Spousal Support. For Alimony to be awarded, the Court must first find that one party has the need for Alimony and that the other party has the ability to pay Alimony. The unique circumstances surrounding each marriage will influence whether there is an award of Alimony; and, if so, how much alimony is awarded and for how long. You should consult with an experienced Alimony Attorney if you have questions or concerns about alimony entitlements or obligations.
You might be entitled to Rehabilitative Alimony if you require the redevelopment of a previous skill or credential or the acquisition of education, training, or work experience necessary to develop appropriate employment skills or credentials. To be awarded Rehabilitative Alimony, there must be a specific and defined Rehabilitative Plan. The maximum length of an award of rehabilitative alimony is 5 years.
You might be entitled to Bridge-the-Gap Alimony if you require support in making the transition from being married to being single. Bridge-the-Gap Alimony assists a party with legitimate identifiable short-term needs (i.e. a lease, mortgage, or COBRA). The length of an award of Bridge-the-Gap Alimony may not exceed 2 years.
Durational Alimony: How much Durational Alimony Will I Receive?
The July 2023 amendment to Fla. Stat. § 61.08 includes formulas to limit the duration of alimony and to help determine the amount of a potential alimony award.
To determine an alimony award, you must first establish if your marriage is short-term, moderate-term, or long-term. Since the recent 2023 amendment of Fla. Stat. § 61.08, “there is a rebuttable presumption that a short-term marriage is a marriage having a duration of less than 10 years, a moderate-term marriage is a marriage having a duration between 10 and 20 years, and a long-term marriage is a marriage having a duration of 20 years or longer.” You count the length of a marriage from the date of the marriage until the date of filing of an action for dissolution of marriage.
Durational Alimony is limited to 50% of the length of a short-term marriage, 60% of the length of a moderate-term marriage, and 75% of the length of a long-term marriage. Durational alimony may not be awarded following a marriage lasting less than 3 years.
The amount of Durational Alimony is the amount determined to be the receiving party’s reasonable need, or an amount not to exceed 35% of the difference between the parties’ net incomes, whichever amount is less.
The Court considers several factors in deciding whether to award alimony, and if appropriate, what constitutes a party’s reasonable need. Some of the Alimony factors include how long the couple was married, the standard of living enjoyed during the marriage, the age and condition of the spouses, each party’s financial resources, income, assets and liabilities, and each party’s contribution (financial and otherwise) to the marriage. An experienced Alimony Attorney can help you identify and weigh alimony factors that the Court could consider in making an Alimony award.
Adultery and Alimony: Can I lose my Alimony if I have an affair?
Because the law is so new, it’s hard to say if having an affair could result in the total loss of an alimony award, but the law is clear, “the court may consider the adultery of either spouse and any resulting economic impact in determining the amount of alimony, if any, to be awarded.”
Once alimony is waived, it is nearly impossible to establish it later, so it is important to consult with an experienced family lawyer before making any decisions.
Modification of Alimony
There are certain events in life that can reduce, or even completely eliminate alimony. The death of either party is one of them. Another event that can cause a modification or elimination of alimony is when either party has a substantial change in circumstances, such as a reduced income, increased income, the loss of a job, or retirement. Alimony may also be reduced or terminated when the party receiving alimony engages in or benefits from a supportive relationship, remarries, or cohabitates in a marital-like relationship with another.
To speak to an experienced Divorce Attorney with Levinson & Capuano, LLC about Alimony, please call (954)703-2110 or Click Here to Contact Us.
Revised: Aug 2023
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