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What should you know about Florida’s new alimony law?

On Behalf of | Aug 11, 2023 | Family Law

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has finally signed the bill passed earlier this year to end permanent alimony in the state. The battle over ending permanent alimony has been going on for years, with three previous bills making it to two governor’s desks, including DeSantis’s, and being vetoed.

Lawmakers changed the language that made the legislation retroactive to previous spousal support orders, which was why DeSantis vetoed the last version. Now a non-modifiable agreement dated prior to the law’s effective date of July 1 of this year that provides permanent alimony can’t be changed to comply with the new law.

The law adds “durational alimony” as an option

Under the new law, the state still provides the options of bridge-the-gap and rehabilitative alimony would remain options for judges to order. These options provide alimony for a limited period to allow spouses who haven’t been earning an income or whose income is less than their husband’s or wife’s to receive alimony while they take steps to become self-supporting.

The new option, durational alimony, can be used only if the marriage lasted for a minimum of three years. The duration of it will depend on how long the couple was married. However, it “may not exceed the lesser of the obligee’s reasonable need or 35 percent of the difference between the parties’ net incomes.”

Other changes included in the law

The new law makes a few other changes as well. For example, lump-sum payments are now allowed. Further, among the things that judges can consider when a payer makes a modification request is whether they’ve reached the “customary retirement age” for their occupation

If you’re considering divorce and you believe alimony will be part of it, it’s important to understand the new law and other state laws that address divorce matters. That’s just one reason why it’s important to have experienced legal guidance.