Florida Permanent Alimony Laws: Getting Familiar with the New Proposed Changes to the Law
Florida Alimony Laws: An Evolving Landscape
As of today, Florida is one of only six states that allows permanent alimony awards in divorce cases and settlements. However, recent bills filed in the Florida legislature have called into question this long-standing practice. The Law Offices of Matthew Z. Martell, your Sarasota family law attorney, wants to update you on some of the developments taking place in Tallahassee.
How Alimony Laws Change in Florida
During every regular session of the Florida legislature, lawmakers file a substantial number of bills. Many bills originate in response to conversations lawmakers have with constituents or to address inconsistencies in the law that may result after court decisions.
The majority of bills submitted by legislators never make their way out of their respective committees. Those that do need the approval of both the Senate and House of Representatives to be submitted for the governor’s signature.
Over the last several years, some legislators have filed bills that challenge Florida’s statutes that allow courts to grant permanent alimony awards in divorce settlements. Although none of these bills has received legislative approval, those considering filing for divorce should be aware that big changes in how permanent periodic alimony is handled in Florida divorces appear to be headed toward becoming official Florida law as of July 2, 2022. This is because the Florida legislature has passed a bill ending permanent periodic alimony in its last session, are scheduled to send it to Governor DeSantis on July 16, 2022, to sign or veto, and it will become law within 15 days of when it is sent to his desk under existing Florida law even if he does not sign it. Florida divorce legal industry insiders expect him to not sign it but not veto it either. Therefore, they expect permanent periodic alimony to be eliminated in all current Florida divorces, as well as be able to be eliminated in all prior modifiable Florida divorces as of 7-2-2022.
Sarasota divorce attorney Matthew Z Martell keeps track of significant Florida legislative and legal developments that have the potential to affect his or her clients’ lives. For those seeking a divorce, as well as those who must currently comply with permanent periodic alimony payments, the Law Offices of Matthew Z. Martell offers you a Sarasota divorce lawyer who is well-versed in current and future proposed Florida legislation and legal precedents about permanent periodic alimony.
The Basics of Florida Alimony
Florida law has traditionally handled divorce petitions as a no-fault process. This means that a person seeking a divorce does not have to specify any reasons other than that the marriage is “irretrievably broken”. A statutory exception technically still does allow for incidents of adultery to be considered when figuring out the calculation of alimony. However, under the new Florida alimony law, Florida lawmakers have officially ended this alimony adultery infidelity clause. This new bill has taken aim at the larger issue of the breadwinner in a long-term marriage often having a lifelong responsibility to provide alimony to their ex-spouse. Under the new proposed Florida alimony law, the highly unpopular form of permanent periodic alimony is going to be eliminated.
Under present Florida law, when permanent periodic alimony is involved in a divorce settlement, it becomes part of the Marital Settlement Agreement contract. The partner who owes the payment is called the obligor, and the one who receives these funds as specified in the settlement is the obligee. Under this new Florida alimony law, even if you agreed to permanent periodic alimony in a Marital Settlement Agreement in your divorce, you can still have it eliminated.
If the current trend continues as Florida divorce legal industry insiders believe it will, there are going to be significant revisions to Florida permanent periodic alimony divorce law effective July 2, 2022. This bill will end permanent alimony in current divorce cases. It will also allow an obligor to retire at age 65 over a four-year period with the permanent periodic alimony being reduced by 25% each year until it reaches zero and without having their retirement accounts being allowed to be garnished. It will allow a person to re-open a prior divorce and get rid of modifiable permanent periodic alimony which is the main type of alimony ordered or agreed to in about 90% of long-term divorce cases. It will also let an obligor request that their alimony payment be adjusted or eliminated completely much more easily if the obligee has become involved with another person who can financially support them. New provisions in this bill also deny an ex-spouse’s request for more alimony if their former spouse now enjoys an increase in their standard of living since the divorce.
Indeed, the concept of using a partner’s “standard of living” when deciding alimony will also disappear under this new Florida alimony law. This bill would also acknowledge that each person would experience a decline in financial resources and a reduced standard of living if a marriage ends. This Proposed legislation also redefines how timesharing (i.e.- visitation) is decided in that it presumes it should be 50/50.
Contact a Knowledgeable Sarasota Divorce Attorney Who Understands How the New Florida Alimony Law Affects You
The Law Offices of Matthew Z. Martell follows current Florida legislation that may significantly alter divorce permanent periodic alimony law and procedures. For those who need a Sarasota divorce lawyer near you who is on top of these new proposed changes to Florida permanent periodic alimony, Sarasota County and Manatee County residents should contact an Attorney Matthew Z. Martell because he understands how new this new law may affect a future or current divorce, as well as a settlement agreement and/or Final Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage already in place from a prior divorce. For parties considering the possible end of a marriage while living in Sarasota divorce mediation is our focus and our law firm will try to find a reasonable and friendly resolution to your divorce during your difficult times. If you are serious about immediately retaining a knowledgeable, highly competent, and professional Sarasota, Bradenton, Lakewood Ranch, and Venice, Florida divorce lawyer to get you out of permanent periodic alimony, then contact us at (941) 556-7020.