Florida Alimony Reform in 2023: What You Need to Know

Florida Alimony Reform

Keeping up with the law changes in Florida has been a challenge lately. Between controversial new legislation and heated debates, it’s tough to sift through what matters for regular people. But for those seeking divorce, monumental alimony reforms may impact you more than you think.

Governor DeSantis recently championed historic changes to Florida’s alimony laws. For anyone divorced or considering divorce, these new rules stand to reshape financial outcomes. Many are left wondering – what are the key changes? And what do they mean for me?

Let’s cut through the confusion and highlight what you really need to know.

Significant Changes to Florida Alimony Law

Under the new alimony reform bill signed into law by Governor Ron DeSantis, Florida has enacted some of the most dramatic changes to alimony in years. Here are some of the most notable changes to the Florida Statutes:

1. Elimination of Permanent Alimony

Florida has joined states like Massachusetts and Utah to eliminate “permanent alimony.” Under previous law, permanent alimony had no duration limit and only ended upon the death or remarriage of the receiving spouse.

2. Caps on Terms of Alimony

Florida’s new law institutes caps on alimony terms for rehabilitative alimony and durational alimony:

  • Rehabilitative alimony is now capped at 5 years.
  • For marriages lasting 3 to 10 years, durational alimony can’t exceed 50% of the marriage’s length. From 10 to 20 years of marriage, alimony is capped at 60% of the marriage’s length. And for marriages over 20 years, alimony is limited to 75% of the marriage’s length. Marriages lasting less than 3 years are ineligible for durational alimony.

However, courts can exceed the term of durational alimony under certain circumstances, such as for recipients with mental or physical disabilities or those caring for a disabled child.

3. Caps on Durational Alimony Payments

Durational alimony paid to the recipient will be equal to the recipient’s financial need or a maximum of 35% of the difference in the obligor and obligee’s incomes, whichever value is less.

4. Other Important Changes

In addition to the above changes, the reformed alimony laws include the following updates:

  • If the court determines that the payor must purchase a life insurance policy in order to secure the alimony award, the court is now required to provide its findings in writing supporting the special circumstances that led to this decision. 
  • If it is found that the alimony recipient is supporting another person who is not related to them in a “supportive relationship,” the court must reduce or terminate their alimony.
  • If the payor decides to retire, they can apply to have their alimony payments reduced or terminated no earlier than six months prior to retirement.

How Alimony Reform Affects Your Case

A common question we hear is whether the new alimony law applies to existing divorces. The short answer is no – the reform is not retroactive. It only takes effect for divorce cases filed after July 1, 2023.

However, for divorces filed before then, there may still be strategies under the new law to seek a modification of your existing alimony. A qualified divorce attorney can advise if and how you could adjust an older alimony award.

Careful legal strategy will be required to ensure you get a fair and reasonable alimony outcome. Having an experienced family law attorney fully versed in the intricacies of the new alimony law by your side will be more important than ever.

Types of Alimony Available in Florida

Few life events are as emotionally and financially turbulent as divorce. And in the chaos of paperwork, negotiations, and newly single life, you need some financial footing. Alimony can provide that stable ground.

Alimony, also called spousal support, offers monetary help from your former spouse during this transition. Depending on your situation, it can last a few months or many years. Here are the three main types of alimony in Florida.

Bridge-the-Gap Alimony

Like its name implies, bridge-the-gap alimony bridges the immediate gap from married to single life. It covers essential expenses in the first 2-3 months after the divorce while you get your bearings. We’re talking about the big payments – housing, car, insurance. It cushions the initial blow and major lifestyle changes. You can expect bridge-the-gap payments for 3-6 months. However, it can not exceed two years and is non-modifiable. 

Rehabilitative Alimony

If you need career training, education, or skills to attain financial independence, rehabilitative alimony is for you. It provides income for up to 5 years while investing in your future earning potential. Whether it’s finishing a degree, learning new technologies, or building a business, rehabilitative alimony finances your self-sufficiency. Be ready to show a clear education and career plan when negotiating for rehabilitative spousal support.

Durational Alimony

Durational alimony offers income for a set duration dependent upon the length of the marriage. Under the new bill, short-term marriages are those lasting under 10 years, from 10 – 20  years for moderate length,  and a long-term marriage is one that lasts 20+ years. Durational alimony aims to provide economic assistance for a set period of time.  It accounts for the commitments and contributions within the marriage.

While judges ultimately decide alimony, understanding the purpose behind each type will strengthen your case. With the right knowledge and support, you can find your feet and take the next step into a secure financial future.

Let Our Florida Divorce Attorneys Help With Your Alimony Case

At Vollrath Law, we have extensive experience guiding clients through complex divorces and fighting for favorable alimony outcomes. Our Florida divorce attorneys offer strategic guidance based on representing numerous local clients just like you.

Our alimony lawyers stay on top of every change to alimony laws so we can vigorously protect your interests. Whether paying or receiving alimony, we create a tailored legal strategy to secure you the most just settlement or court award.

To learn more about how our compassionate legal team can assist with your alimony case, contact Vollrath Law today to schedule a consultation. Our knowledgeable divorce and alimony attorneys are here to answer your questions, explain your options, and devise an effective plan to safeguard your future.

Author Bio

Stephanie Vollrath is an Owner and Partner of Vollrath Law, a Florida estate planning law firm she founded in 2013. With more than seven years of experience in investments and financial advising and 13 years practicing law in Florida, she represented clients in a wide range of estate planning cases. Her practice areas include wills, trusts, guardianship, probate, and other estate planning matters.

Stephanie received her Juris Doctor from the Barry University Dwayne O. Andreas School of Law and is a member of the Florida Bar and the Seminole County Bar Association.

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