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Alimony Reform in Florida

Alimony Reform in Florida

Alimony is a condition of divorce that a spouse is court-ordered to provide provisions to their former spouse after the separation of divorce.  It is sometimes referred to as “spousal support” and it is designed to help the lower-income spouse, beyond the allocation of funds for child support, maintain the lifestyle that was upheld during the union.

There are five types of alimony in Florida law:

  • Temporary: This type of alimony only lasts during the duration of the divorce and is eliminated once the divorce is final.
  • Bridge-the-gap: In this alimony scenario the maximum duration is two years after the divorce is finalized.  Its purpose it to assist the receiving spouse to reach short term needs.
  • Durational: Durational alimony extends as long as the marriage itself lasted, for example if a couple was wed for 7 years the alimony terms would not extend past 7 years.
  • Rehabilitative: A spouse attempting to receive this type of alimony must provide the courts with a plan outlining the education/training, money, and time needed to complete the plan.
  • Permanent:  If the economic need of the receiving spouse is seemingly permanent, the alimony awarded may be permanent as well.  They must prove, however, that they have the inability to be self-supporting the standard that they once lived at.

Alimony is designed to aid those who may have given up the ability to earn a living or receive an education so that their spouse could in lieu of them.  Recent legislation in the Florida law has drawn much criticism to the potential reform of alimony laws in the state.  The Florida government, however, reached a deadlock over Medicaid expansion, which halted the legislation process and left many issues, including alimony reform, in an indeterminate state.  The reform suggested this most recent session provided a formula in which all alimony would be decided.  The main concern that this change developed was the lowering of alimony across the board, even in instances where lowering would lead to poverty and losses that are foreseeable and avoidable.  Due to their inability to arrive at an agreement, alimony modification was not reached during this year’s session and will not be revisited until next session, which begins January 2, 2016.

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