Alimony Reform Bills Coming to Florida Legislature

Bills that seek to change Florida’s alimony laws are coming to the Florida House (HB 231) and Senate (SB 718).  The bills, supported by Florida Alimony Reform, seek to do the following (according to the Florida Bar News):

HB 231 would do away with permanent alimony in almost all cases and make other changes.  It would create the presumption of no alimony in “short-term” marriages up to 10 years, and there would be no presumption in favor of either party for alimony in “mid-term” marriages of 10 to 20 years.  In the latter cases, the party seeking alimony would have to prove the need for alimony by a preponderance of the evidence, and payments would be limited to the lesser of 50 percent of the differences in the spouse’s income or 20 to 30 percent of the paying spouse’s net income, based on the length of the marriage.

Alimony would be presumed as needed on “long-term” marriages of over 20 years, but would be limited to the lesser of 50 percent of the income difference or 33 percent of the paying spouse’s net income.  An extra 10 percent could be awarded if the receiving spouse is determined to be disabled under Social Security standards.

The bill also imputes an income to receiving spouses bases on past employment and depending how recent that employment is.  It would also allow automatic termination of alimony when the paying spouse reaches the “age for full Social Security retirement benefits,” unless the recipient spouse shows the clear and convincing need for continued alimony.  Alimony would be reduced when the receiving spouse remarries or enters a “supportive relationship” that improves that spouse’s income.  However, if the paying spouse remarries or enters a supportive relationship, assets and income of that partner could not be used to justify an increase in alimony payments.


In the absence of clear and convincing evidence, alimony would be limited to 50 percent of the length of the marriage.

The bill would also limit the ability of a judge to require the paying souse to obtain life insurance to guarantee alimony payments to “special circumstances,” and even then it would be limited to a decreasing term life policy.

Depending on the length of marriage, those with alimony agreements would be able to file for a modification under the terms of the new law either immediately upon its July 1, 2013, effective date or at the most after July 1, 2015.

If you want to speak with a Tampa Bay Divorce Attorney regarding the current state of Florida alimony laws and how the proposed changes might affect you, schedule a consultation with The Law Firm of Adam B. Cordover, P.A., at (813) 443-0615 or fill out our contact form.

About Adam B. Cordover, Attorney-at-Law

Family Diplomacy is dedicated to helping clients restructure their families privately and respectfully. We practice exclusively in out-of-court dispute resolution, with a focus on collaborative divorce and family law, mediation, direct negotiations, and unbundled legal services. We maintain this out-of-court practice because we strongly believe that family disputes should be resolved in a private conference room, not in a hostile and public courtroom environment. This unique perspective on family law stems back to Adam B. Cordover’s experience studying International Affairs in Washington, D.C., and abroad. Adam had the rare opportunity to work closely with ambassadors and diplomats from war-torn regions around the world. He traveled around the globe, learning from diplomatic leaders as they applied dispute resolution techniques to tackle seemingly impossible conflicts. It dawned on him: If these techniques can work in the complex world of International Relations, why not Domestic Relations and Family Law? This realization lead Adam to create an exclusively out-of-court practice and to bring a more peacemaking approach to family law. In his previous role as a litigation attorney, Adam witnessed parties experience the negative emotional and financial effects that long, drawn out divorce battles can have on families. As a result, Adam has become a strong proponent of the Collaborative Process, where a structure is put in place so that life’s hardest moments do not have to be any more difficult than necessary. A thought leader in the international collaborative law community, Adam successfully spearheaded an effort of the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit to draft an administrative order safeguarding the principles of collaborative family law (just the fourth such administrative order in Florida). Adam has been featured in or interviewed about collaborative practice by the Tampa Bay Times, Tampa Tribune, Orlando Sentinel, Miami Herald, Tampa Bay Business Journal, Florida Bar News, NBC, Fox 13, Bay News 9, ABC Action News, The World of Collaborative Practice Magazine, and Spirit FM 90.5. Adam regularly speaks at professional and civic organizations locally and internationally regarding the collaborative process. Adam B. Cordover is president of Next Generation Divorce, a 501(c)(3) and Florida’s largest interdisciplinary collaborative practice group with member attorneys, mental health professionals, and financial professionals throughout Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, Sarasota, and Manatee Counties. Adam is also on the Executive Board and co-chair of the Research Committee of the Collaborative Family Law Council of Florida. Further, Adam is a graduate of the inaugural class of the Leadership Academy of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals. You can learn more about us and our services at Attorney Adam B. Cordover is admitted to the Florida Bar and the United States District Court, Middle District of Florida. His office is located at 412 East Madison Street, Suite 824, Tampa, Florida 33602.
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