Despite Florida’s legislature passing comprehensive alimony reform in the 2013 legislative session, Governor Rick Scott vetoed the reform because of its potential to modify long-standing alimony arrangements retroactively. Legislators are expected to pursue alimony reform once again in the upcoming legislative session to facilitate modifications to existing alimony settlements.
Types of alimony available in Florida
Spouses who are in the process of dissolving their marriage may petition a court to grant them financial support from their former spouse as early as during the divorce proceedings and perhaps continuing until their death. Florida law offers the following types of alimony:
- Temporary: Designed to support the spouse during divorce proceedings and terminates upon the finalization of the divorce
- Bridge-the-gap: Designed to help a spouse with immediate short-term needs and lasts no more than two years
- Rehabilitative: Designed to help a spouse become self-supportive through education or other means
- Durational: Awarded if other types of alimony are inappropriate for a period no longer than the marriage
- Permanent: Designed to provide for a spouse who lacks the financial or phyiscal ability to meet their necessities after divorce
Modifying an alimony agreement in Florida
Florida law permits the modification of existing rehabilitative, durational and permanent alimony agreements due to changes in the financial ability or circumstances of either spouse. Either spouse may petition the court for an increase or decrease in the amount of financial support for any of the following reasons:
- In cases of permanent alimony, the spouse receiving the alimony payments is receiving financial support from a person with whom he or she resides
- Remarriage by the recipient spouse
- Job loss
- Changes in income
If you have experienced changed circumstances since the finalization of your divorce that require an adjustment of your existing spousal support order, a Florida spousal support attorney can help you explore your modification options.