Alimony, also known as spousal support, is a critical aspect of divorce proceedings. It is designed to provide financial support to the lower-earning spouse after a marriage is dissolved. Florida recently enacted new legislation that will bring significant changes to the alimony laws as of July 1, 2023. In this blog post, we will outline the key alterations and their implications.
1. Elimination of Permanent Alimony:
Under the new law, permanent alimony will no longer be awarded in Florida divorces. Previously, permanent alimony involved continued support until the recipient spouse remarries, dies, or a substantial change in circumstances occurs. However, effective July 1, 2023, permanent alimony will be replaced by various forms of limited duration alimony.
2. Different Types of Limited Duration Alimony:
The updated law introduces four types of limited duration alimony that courts can consider when awarding spousal support. These include:
a. Bridge-the-gap alimony: Intended to help a spouse transition from married to single life, bridge-the-gap alimony provides support for a short period, typically not exceeding two years.
b. Rehabilitative alimony: Designed to enable a spouse to acquire education, skills, or training to become self-supporting, rehabilitative alimony can be awarded for a specified and reasonable period.
c. Durational alimony: This form of alimony is granted for a specific duration, based on the length of the marriage. The maximum duration of durational alimony cannot exceed the length of the marriage.
d. Temporary alimony: Temporary alimony is awarded during the divorce process and may cease once the final divorce decree is issued.
e. There are New Presumptions in Timesharing & Parental Responsibility:
The law introduces a presumption of shared parental responsibility, regardless of the alimony awarded. It is also now the public policy of this state that 50/50 timesharing is in the best interests of every child, meaning both parents are considered equal caretakers, and decision-makers in matters concerning the children, despite past roles, unless there is evidence indicating otherwise.
4. Modifications to Existing Alimony Orders:
The updated law also provides a framework for modifying existing alimony orders. It introduces a two-step process, requiring the petitioner to establish a substantial, material, and unanticipated change in circumstances before the court reviews the amount and duration of alimony.
As of July 1, 2023, Florida's alimony laws will undergo significant changes. Permanent alimony will no longer be awarded, and limited duration alimony will take its place. The new law aims to establish a more balanced and equitable approach to spousal support, considering the unique circumstances of each individual case. It is crucial for those going through a divorce in Florida to understand these changes and consult with legal professionals to navigate the updated alimony framework effectively.