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.