The landscape of alimony laws in Florida has undergone a significant transformation due to a recent overhaul by Governor Ron DeSantis. This change, culminating after nearly a decade of legislative efforts, marks a departure from the previous system of how the state has traditionally handled the issue of permanent alimony in particular.
This legislative change regarding alimony in Florida can be consequential for individuals undergoing divorce proceedings. It can directly impact financial arrangements related to their divorce.
Terms set by the new law
The new law, which took effect on July 1, 2023, eliminates the option of permanent alimony. It also significantly changes how financial support is determined and awarded in divorce cases. These changes affect numerous aspects of divorce settlements, ranging from categorizing marriages to calculating alimony amounts.
Elimination of permanent alimony
The new law reflects a recognition of changes in individual circumstances over time. Eliminating permanent alimony may prevent situations where one ex-spouse must continue working beyond retirement age because of alimony obligations. It effectively sets time limits for the recipient to become self-sufficient.
Changes to durational alimony
The law redefines the lengths of marriages, impacting how durational alimony is awarded.
- Short-term marriages last less than 10 years
- Moderate-term marriages last 10 and 20 years
- Long-term marriages last more than 20 years
The law also sets new limits on the duration of durational alimony. It’s based on the length of the marriage and removes the consideration of maintaining the quality of life established during the marriage.
Rehabilitative alimony, designed to support a spouse in gaining skills or education for employment, now has a five-year cap. This change aligns with the law’s approach to encouraging financial independence post-divorce.
Retroactivity and existing agreements
One of the significant concerns addressed in the new law is its retroactivity. It clarifies that the law is not retroactive for non-modifiable alimony plans. However, plans that could be modified before the change will now be subject to the new statutes if modifications are pursued.
Alimony is often a primary consideration after a long-term marriage. Those facing this possibility should seek legal guidance so they can understand exactly how the new law will impact them.