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Alimony Changes are Once Again Being Considered in Florida

On behalf of The Law Offices of Cindy D. Sackrin posted in Divorce on Wednesday, February 10, 2016.

Changes to alimony are again being discussed in Florida. A proposal that would change categories of alimony and how long alimony may be awarded was recently signed by a Florida House panel. The proposal would eliminate permanent alimony and provide a formula that bases alimony awards on the length of the marriage and the incomes of both spouses. Alimony reform has been an issue frequently discussed in Florida.

The sponsor of the bill noted that the changes will provide certainty and equality for divorcing couples. Certain types of alimony would be eliminated by the bill including bridge-the-gap, rehabilitative, durational and permanent alimony. The reform would also change the durational categories of marriage in relation to alimony. Currently, there are three categories of marriages defined by length, including short-term marriages, mid-term marriages and long-term marriages. According to the changes, the category of mid-term marriages will be eliminated and long-term marriages, now defined as 17 years, will be defined as 20 years.

According to the proposed system, the length of time alimony payments would be paid would be calculated based on the duration of the marriage. The amount of alimony that would be required would be based on the couple's gross income. Couples divorcing after 2 or fewer years of marriage would not be eligible for alimony without obtaining an exception. In addition, the proposed new guidelines would not be retroactive. There appears to be a number of sources of support for the bill and the changes.

In many situations, and family law and alimony considerations are no exception, it is important to keep up on the current status of the law. No changes to alimony have currently been made, so it is important for couples considering divorce to understand which situations warrant an alimony award and how that applies to their unique circumstances.

Source: PalmBeachPost.com, "Alimony overhaul on the move in Florida House," Dara Kam, Feb. 5, 2016

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