One of the frequent issues in divorces that occur in Florida is spousal support, otherwise known as “alimony.” Nonetheless, there’s been a recent development. In June 2023, Governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill that does away with the concept of making permanent alimony payments.
Although it has been widely assumed that alimony is an integral part of Florida divorces, this new legislation alters the landscape. It means that the granting of alimony, particularly in a permanent manner, will no longer be the norm.
What is Florida SB 1416?
In the past, the legal framework in Florida has acknowledged the necessity, under specific circumstances, for one spouse to make alimony payments to the other. When judges deliberated on matters concerning alimony, they typically took two primary factors into account:
- The financial needs of one spouse.
- The capability of the other spouse to provide financial support.
Once these criteria were established, a range of alimony was often granted, from temporary alimony payments meant to “bridge the gap” in the transition period to permanent alimony payments to be made on an ongoing basis.
However, with the passage of SB 1416, spouses are no longer required to pay permanent alimony. Not only that, but it adds other conditions when considering alimony rewards:
- Adultery can serve as a consideration for the court when determining the amount of alimony to be granted.
- One spouse needs to present sufficient evidence demonstrating their eligibility for alimony.
- Changes to a parenting plan or schedule are possible, even in situations where the circumstances were initially anticipated.
- If the person paying alimony gets married or lives with a romantic partner, the court might lower or stop the payments.
- Similarly, if the individual responsible for alimony payments retires, the court holds the authority to decrease or halt the said payments.
How Will the Removal of Permanent Alimony Affect Florida Divorces?
Certainly, many Florida divorces will now feel the impact of the removal of permanent alimony. While it might not decrease the number of divorces, this new law will no doubt have an effect on the decision-making process for both couples and judges considering alimony.
Thus, for those getting divorced in Florida, it’s important to understand how alimony is decided and then awarded by judges. Typically, they look at things like the:
- Lifestyle both before and during the marriage
- Length of the marriage
- Age, health, and other personal characteristics of each spouse.
- Financial situation of each spouse, including income, assets, and debts.
- Earning capacity of each spouse
- Contributions both spouses made to the marriage
Most courts also consider any additional relevant factors, like the availability of other financial resources or significant debts, when making a decision on alimony. Florida courts examine these factors to make a decision about alimony, but with the passage of the new law, the complexity of the issue has increased..