Florida divorce laws can be complex and confusing, especially when it comes to alimony provisions. Alimony, also known as spousal support, is a legal arrangement between separating couples over an agreed period. Essentially, it’s financial support provided to an ex-spouse to help maintain the standard of living maintained during the marriage.
Florida provides four types of alimony: temporary, bridge-the-gap, rehabilitative, or durational. Couples can negotiate the terms of the alimony award, including the type, duration, and amount of support. However, if they cannot agree, the judge will evaluate their circumstances and decide for them. This can be a daunting process, but understanding the distinctions between the types of alimony, how they function, and hiring an alimony lawyer can significantly assist you in navigating divorce proceedings.
Changes in Alimony Laws in Florida in 2023
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis recently signed a bill on June 30, 2023 that will overhaul the state’s alimony laws. This new law includes doing away with permanent alimony and setting a five-year limit on what is known as rehabilitative alimony. It also allows for the modification of alimony payments if the paying spouse becomes unemployed or experiences a significant change in income.
Elimination of Permanent Alimony
One of the most significant changes to Florida’s alimony laws is the elimination of permanent alimony. Under the new law, permanent alimony will no longer be awarded in the state. Instead, the court will award bridge-the-gap, rehabilitative, or durational alimony, depending on the circumstances of the case.
This type of alimony is designed to help the recipient transition from being married to being single. It is intended to cover short-term needs and may be awarded for a maximum of two years.
Changes in Duration and Amount
The new law also changes the duration and amount of alimony that can be awarded. Rehabilitative alimony is now limited to five years, while durational alimony is limited to the length of the marriage. The amount of alimony awarded will also be based on a formula that takes into account the length of the marriage and the income of both parties.
Types of Alimony in Florida
Temporary alimony is awarded to provide financial support to a spouse during the divorce proceedings. This type of alimony automatically ends when the divorce is finalized. Temporary alimony is commonly granted when there’s a substantial income disparity between spouses, and the lower-earning spouse requires financial assistance to sustain their lifestyle throughout the divorce proceedings.
Bridge-the-Gap Alimony is designed to aid the recipient spouse in adjusting from married life to single life. Its purpose is to address short-term financial needs, including establishing a new residence or securing employment. However, it’s important to note that Bridge-the-Gap alimony cannot extend beyond a maximum duration of two years.
The purpose of rehabilitative alimony is to help the lower-earning spouse become self-sufficient. The court may require the receiving spouse to create a plan for education or training to improve their earning potential. Rehabilitative alimony is typically granted when one spouse has experienced a substantial absence from the job market and requires financial assistance to acquire the skills and education essential for achieving self-sufficiency.
Durational alimony is usually awarded in cases where the marriage was of short or moderate duration. Durational alimony serves the purpose of offering financial assistance to a spouse for a designated duration, aiding them in transitioning and adapting to their financial circumstances following the divorce. The length of time for which durational alimony is awarded cannot exceed the length of the marriage.
Factors Affecting Alimony Decisions
When it comes to alimony decisions in Florida, the court takes into account several factors before making a ruling. Here are some of the most important factors that can affect alimony decisions:
Length of Marriage
The length of the marriage is one of the most important factors that the court considers when deciding on alimony. As a general rule, the duration of the marriage correlates with the likelihood of the court granting an alimony award.
The financial resources of each spouse are also taken into account. The court will look at the income, assets, and debts of each spouse before making a decision. If one spouse has significantly more financial resources than the other, the court may award alimony to the spouse with fewer resources.
Standard of Living
The court will look at the couple’s lifestyle during the marriage and try to maintain that standard of living for both spouses after the divorce. If one spouse cannot maintain the same standard of living after the divorce, the court may award alimony to that spouse.
Age and Health of Spouses
If one spouse is considerably older or facing health issues that hinder their ability to work, the court may grant alimony in recognition of their circumstances. Similarly, if a spouse has health conditions that necessitate additional financial support, the court may also award alimony in their favor.
Consult Konicek Law About Alimony Provisions in Florida
The purpose of alimony provisions in Florida divorces is to guarantee that the spouse who depends on financial support receives the necessary assistance after the marriage dissolution. It’s crucial to understand that Florida law has guidelines for alimony, but ultimately, it’s up to the court’s discretion when determining the specifics of each case. The court’s decision is based on the unique circumstances and facts presented during the divorce proceedings.
When it comes to alimony provisions, you need an experienced divorce attorney on your side to ensure that your rights are protected. Call Konicek Law today, and let us guide you as you navigate the complexities around divorce and alimony provisions.