Florida Alimony Bill
This Legal Update Dramatically Changed How Alimony Works In Florida
While Senate Bill 718, more commonly referred to as the “Alimony Bill”, affected more than just alimony, the change it had was significant enough to keep the majority of the public focus on that aspect. This law, which came into effect on July 1, 2013, placed priority on awarding bridge-the-gap alimony first, or rehabilitative alimony if that wasn’t a suitable option over any other type of alimony offered in Florida. This could change depending on the actions of state legislators, but it’s important to understand how the courts will handle alimony decisions if you are in the process of filing for divorce.
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Changes To Marriage Definitions
Marriages are broken down into three categories in Florida, short-term, mid-term and long-term. This law altered the definitions of these three categories, potentially affecting the possibly alimony payments an ex-spouse can receive.
The definition of a short-term marriage was extended from less than seven years to up to 11 years. The current assumption in Florida is that marriages that last less than 12 years will not include alimony payments in the divorce, and if the court determines that the payments are necessary, it cannot exceed 25 percent of the paying ex-spouse’s gross income, and cannot last for more than half of the length of the marriage. Previously, payments could last for the same amount of time as the couple was married.
The definition of a mid-term marriage was extended from between seven to 17 years to between 11 and 20 years. Just like a short-term marriage, alimony payments cannot last for more than half of the length of the marriage, rather than the previously allowed entire length of the marriage. Mid-term marriage alimony payments cannot exceed 35 percent of the paying ex-spouse’s gross income.
The definition of a long-term marriage was extended from at least 17 years to at least 20 years, and alimony payments cannot last for more than half of the length of the marriage. Long-term alimony payments cannot exceed 38 percent of the paying ex-spouse’s gross income.
Under Florida law, the paying spouse cannot be ordered to pay more than 40 percent of their gross income when combining rehabilitative and durational alimony costs, and unless the court is given clear and convincing evidence, the payments will stop when the paying spouse retires. The court will also look at the amount of time the spouse receiving payments has been unemployed in order to adjust the amount they receive, from 40 percent of what they used to make if they haven’t worked for five or more years up to 90 percent of that they used to make if they haven’t worked for less than a year.
Speak To An Experienced Lawyer Today
There are a number of exceptions that could come into play depending on your situation, and an experienced awyer can help you navigate any potential complications that may come up. At Givens Law Group, we have helped thousands of families and individuals secure the beneficial outcome they deserve, and are committed to helping each new client we accept so they can comfortably move on to the next phase of their lives. Call us at (813) 328-6159 to speak with one of our experienced staff members.
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