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Bill would revamp the way alimony is determined in Florida

In our last post, we began discussing some of the particulars of state law as it pertains to alimony awards, particularly permanent alimony. As we noted, awards of permanent alimony are not common, but they can and do occur. Some Florida lawmakers are seeking to change that with a bill that would get rid of permanent alimony in Florida.

In terms of the duration of alimony, the proposal would have judges determine this by using the number of years the marriage lasted. The payment amount would depend on the couple’s gross income. The formulas proposed by the measure would effective eliminate not only permanent alimony, but the other established categories of alimony as well. These would all simple be collapsed into one category of temporary alimony. In addition, marriage durations of middle length would no longer be recognized and long-term marriages would no longer be recognized at 17 years but only at 20 years and above. 

There have been previous attempts to get rid of alimony in Florida, but the current proposal contains some unique aspects that could make it more viable. For one thing, the current proposal would not be retroactive, meaning it would not do away with already existing alimony awards. It would affect alimony modifications going forward, though.  Also, although the current proposal establishes formulas to be used in determining payments and durations, judges would have discretion to step away from those formulas on occasion.

Naturally, the bill has supporters and detractors. In our next post, we’ll take a look at their respective positions and offer some comments on the importance of working with an experienced attorney in the alimony determination process.

Source: Sun Sentinel, “Alimony bill gets first approval,” Mar. 17, 2015. 

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