No Change Coming to Florida’s Alimony Laws
Over the past several years, many lawmakers have tried to bring alimony reform to Florida without any success. This year, Sen. Joe Gruters carried bill SB 1922 into the Senate, hoping to abolish permanent alimony in the state. Unfortunately, the bill stalled in committee, meaning the issue is likely not to be addressed until the next legislative session. The current law on alimony in Florida remains complex, so if you are getting a divorce, you should speak to a Florida family lawyer that can answer your questions.
The Attempt to Eliminate Permanent Alimony in Florida
The fact that the latest bill did not pass during this legislative session is no surprise to Floridians. Lawmakers have been trying to make changes to alimony in Florida for almost a decade. The Legislature came closest in 2016 when an alimony reform bill did pass, only to be vetoed by then-Governor Rick Scott.
The current bill would have essentially eliminated permanent alimony, which are support payments made to a lower-earning spouse in the event of divorce. However, the bill did include options for marriages that lasted longer than 20 years. SB 1922 would have allowed Florida to join the other 44 states that have abolished permanent alimony. The bill also sought to cap durational or temporary alimony to a time frame no longer than half the length of the marriage.
The bill did not only address the issue of alimony during divorce, but that of child custody, as well. The bill also included language that would direct the courts in Florida to presume that a completely equitable division of parenting time would be in the child’s best interests.
Although nothing happened with this bill, meaning there will be no change to the alimony laws in the Sunshine State this year, new legislation will likely be introduced next year.
The Current Alimony Laws in Florida
Now that another attempt at alimony reform has been unsuccessful, couples getting a divorce can expect the same rules regarding alimony. Currently, a spouse can still seek permanent alimony, particularly if their marriage lasted for a period of greater than 17 years. If awarded permanent alimony, the recipient can continue receiving support until they remarry, or until either spouse passes away.
Spouses may also be eligible for durational, bridge-the-gap, or temporary alimony. To learn more about the alimony laws in the state, and what you could expect during divorce, it is important to speak to an Orlando family lawyer that can advise you of your options.
Call Our Family Lawyer in Orlando Today for a Consultation
If you are thinking about divorce and are worried about how you will support yourself afterwards, our Orlando family lawyer at O’Mara Law Group can help. We will explain the alimony laws of the state and how they apply to your case to give you the best chance of a positive outcome. Call us today at 407-634-6604 or fill out our online form to schedule a consultation and to obtain the legal help you need.