A new bill that seeks to reform alimony laws in Florida may remove permanent alimony from future divorce cases. Currently, Florida statutes allow permanent lifetime alimony that ends only upon the death or remarriage of the recipient. This places a heavy burden on retired people whose diminished incomes are often insufficient to meet the continuous maintenance payments.
How Family Courts Determine Alimony
Alimony refers to the amount of money that a former spouse continues to receive after divorce or termination of marriage. It may be:
- Combination of all forms
The judge may order one spouse to make periodic payments or pay alimony in one lump sum or both, after determining that there is an actual need for alimony or maintenance and the paying party’s ability to provide alimony.
Currently, judges in Florida enjoy wide latitude in ordering alimony, weighing various factors such as:
- The adultery of either spouse
- Standard of living during marriage
- Duration of the marriage
- Age and physical and emotional condition of each party
- Financial resources of each spouse
- Earning capacity, educational level, employability, and skills of the spouses
- Contribution of each to the marriage
- Responsibility to their children
- All sources of income of each party
If the new bill becomes a law, judges are expected to limit their discretion to two factors: length of the marriage and the income of both parties. These two criteria may mean that retirees may be free of alimony payments.
With this development, many Florida couples who are contemplating divorce are reportedly holding off filing for divorce pending the approval of this bill. The bill, if approved, will not have the effect of amending or replacing alimony awards already existing at the time it may be passed.
If you are contemplating divorce, your Florida alimony lawyer can provide advice and information on alimony payments and help in obtaining your desired outcome, whether to claim alimony or limit alimony of a former spouse.
In Clearwater, Florida, The Law Firm for Family Law has handled over 1,800 family law cases. Founder Gary E. Williams is one of seventeen Board certified experts in Marital and Family Law in Pinellas County, Florida. We also handle other issues arising from family law situations such as paternity, military divorce, child custody, parenting plans time sharing, post premarital agreements, and domestic violence.
We invite you to call us today at (727) 531-8737 to speak to an attorney about your particular case.