Earlier in 2023, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed into law reforms that significantly changed how alimony functions in Florida. These changes went into effect on July 1, 2023, which means you may be affected if you filed for divorce after this date or if your case was pending on this date.
Let’s examine the significant changes to Florida’s alimony laws and what they can mean for you.
Permanent Alimony Is No Longer an Option
Judges may no longer issue permanent alimony orders regardless of how long a marriage lasted. Previously, judges could order permanent alimony in Florida. Permanent alimony required a divorcee to pay their ex-spouse a specified monthly sum on an indefinite basis. While permanent alimony could end upon the recipient’s remarriage, cohabitation, or a judge’s order, the paying spouse had to take the initiative to petition the court to end permanent alimony.
Regardless, permanent alimony is not an option for divorce in Florida anymore.
Florida Changes How It Defines a Marriage’s Duration
Florida altered the definitions of short-term, moderate-term, and long-term marriages such that a marriage must now last longer in each category to qualify for that distinction.
Here’s a breakdown of how lawmakers changed these definitions:
- Short-term marriages now must last at least 10 years (previously, seven years).
- Moderate-term marriages must now last 10-20 years (previously, 7-17 years).
- Long-term marriages must now last 20 years or longer (previously, at least 17 years).
This is potentially significant because the courts take the duration of a marriage into account when determining how much alimony to order and how long alimony should last. Typically, longer marriages mean greater alimony terms and amounts, and the changes to these definitions could especially affect those in short-term marriages.
Other Alimony Law Changes to Know About
Other significant changes to alimony in Florida affect rehabilitative and durational alimony. For example, rehabilitative alimony may only last up to five years. Durational alimony now can’t exceed the recipient’s financial needs or 35% of the difference between their net income and their ex-spouse’s net income (whichever is less).
Also, durational alimony may not last more than half as long as a short-term marriage. If the marriage lasted fewer than three years, then durational alimony is not an option at all. Otherwise, durational alimony may also not last more than 60% of a moderate-term marriage or more than 75% of a long-term marriage.
Contact Us for Legal Support
If alimony is a component of your divorce, it’s important to have experienced legal support on your side. Recent changes to Florida’s alimony laws may impact you, so it’s essential to leave nothing to chance when so much may be at stake.
Tinny, Meyer & Piccarreto, P.A. can help. Contact us today to learn more.