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New Alimony Laws In Effect


Florida’s alimony laws have been in flux for more than a decade. The state has various types of alimony, including permanent alimony, which has been the most controversial. The law has finally been overhauled after four bills.

On July 1, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a new bill into law. SB 1416 is the fourth bill of its kind that aimed to kill permanent alimony. This bill finally does end permanent alimony in Florida for good.

As the name implies, permanent alimony is paid until either spouse dies or the recipient remarries or enters a supportive relationship. Before July 1, Florida was one of seven states that allow permanent alimony. The six others that still allow it are New Jersey, Connecticut, North Carolina, Vermont, Oregon, and West Virginia.

SB 4616 also sets a five-year limit on rehabilitative alimony and allows those who pay alimony to seek modifications under certain conditions. The law adds new language to Florida Statutes 61.08. It removes any indication of permanent alimony, instead noting that it is temporary only.

Under SB 1416, judges are also allowed to reduce or terminate alimony payments after considering several factors, such as:

  • The age and health of the person who makes payments.
  • The customary retirement age of that person’s occupation.
  • The economic impact a reduction in alimony would have on the recipient.
  • The motivation for retirement and likelihood of returning to work for the person paying the alimony.

Another change in the law is important to note. The second section of SB 1416 requires those seeking alimony to prove their need for support and the other spouse’s ability to pay. The burden is on them to prove both these statements. When determining whether or not to award alimony, courts must lay out findings of fact for the type of alimony awarded and for what length of time.

Courts are now required, under the bill, to anticipate the needs and necessities after the divorce. While other factors, such as the lifestyle during the marriage, mental health of both parties, and a party’s ability to obtain skills or education are still relevant, judges must also look at each person’s needs and determine if alimony is a necessity.

The four types of alimony Florida now recognizes are temporary, bridge-the-gap, durational, and rehabilitative, which is now capped at five years under SB 1416. Keep in mind that the law is not retroactive, so existing alimony settlements are not affected and cannot be changed unless you have grounds for a modification.

Seek Help for Your Divorce Case

Alimony reform has been in the works for many years in Florida. It’s good that the law is more realistic now, as nobody should depend on alimony for the rest of their lives nor should someone be forced to pay it for decades.

Have questions about alimony obligations? Get your questions and concerns addressed by a Dade City & Zephyrhills alimony attorney from Madonna Law Group. Our team provides aggressive representation and compelling arguments for an alimony determination that respects your position. To schedule a consultation with our office, call (800) 557-041 or fill out the online form.



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