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Florida legislators consider new alimony reform bill

In Florida there are five main kinds of spousal support. Those are:

  • Temporary alimony, which is paid during the divorce proceeding and not afterward
  • Bridge-the-gap alimony, which is pad for a maximum of two years while the receiving spouse transitions to life after divorce
  • Durational alimony, which is paid after short or moderate duration marriages. This kind of spousal support cannot be awarded for a period longer than the length of the marriage.
  • Rehabilitative alimony, which is paid to help the receiving spouse become self-supporting through education, training or work experience.
  • Permanent alimony, which is long-term financial support awarded after long-term marriage -- 17 years or more. In some cases, permanent alimony may also be awarded after moderate-term marriages.

In recent years, permanent alimony has been the subject of heated debate in Florida. In 2013, Gov. Rick Scott vetoed a bill that would have applied retroactively to divorces that had already been finalized. Had he signed the bill, it would have ended permanent alimony in most divorces.

Now a new alimony reform bill is before the Florida Legislature. This legislation would also end permanent alimony in most cases, but only for future divorces. The proposed spousal support guidelines would also limit the duration of payments to between 25 and 75 percent of the length of time the spouses were married.

Additionally, the bill would allow for a spouse to be awarded attorney's fees if the other spouse unreasonably opposes or seeks an alimony modification.

For more on the factors that affect spousal support amounts, please see our alimony overview.

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