On July 1, 2023, a Florida law went into effect that implements a comprehensive reform of the state’s system of alimony, also known as spousal support. This groundbreaking legislation has effectively eliminated permanent alimony in Florida, replacing it with a more structured and equitable system that takes into account the length of the marriage and the financial needs of both parties involved.
Florida’s alimony reform reflects a growing trend across the United States toward spousal support arrangements that reflect the evolving roles and responsibilities of individuals within marriages. It aims to provide a fairer and more balanced approach to support after divorce. Here are the most notable aspects of the new law:
- Alimony duration — There are now clearly defined limits on how long alimony payments can last after a marriage ends. These time limits are based on the duration of the marriage itself, so that payments align more closely with the circumstances of each specific case. For short-term marriages (those lasting less than a decade) alimony payments can last up to half the duration of the marriage. For moderate-term marriages, which extend up to 20 years, alimony can last up to 60 percent of the length of the marriage. For long-term marriages, alimony can extend up to 75 percent of the length of the marriage.
- Alimony calculation — To ensure fairness and consistency in alimony determinations, the new law introduces a formula for courts to employ when determining alimony amounts. The formula takes the difference in the annual incomes of each party and multiplies it by 35 percent. For example, if the difference is $100,000, then alimony would be set at $35,000.
- Existing agreements — The new law does not automatically apply retroactively. It applies only to divorces filed on or after July 1, 2023. Alimony agreements from divorces filed before the effective date will stay in effect unless the parties follow the usual process for modification.
- Termination of alimony upon payer’s retirement — The new law adds a provision allowing a court to reduce or terminate alimony upon finding the payer has reached normal retirement age. The payer must prove that he or she has taken actual steps to retire and that the retirement reduces his or her ability to pay alimony.
- Other forms of alimony — Although permanent alimony is being phased out, other forms of alimony remain in place to provide financial support post-divorce. These include bridge-the-gap, durational and rehabilitative alimony. The latter, which is awarded to help the receiving spouse acquire education, training or work experience needed to become self-supporting, now has a five-year limit.
For spouses engaged in divorce in which alimony is at issue, an experienced Florida spousal support attorney can provide specific guidance about the duration and size of awards available.
The Law Offices of Lawrence S. Katz, P.A. in Miami assists clients in Florida alimony matters. We will work to get you the spousal support to which you are entitled or to limit spousal support owed to your ex-spouse. Call us at 305-670-8656 or contact us online.