Permanent Alimony in Florida:
Permanent alimony can be awarded by a divorce court and when this happens, the award will generally continue for an indefinite period of time.
Negotiations for permanent alimony may occur during the divorce process, but it can also be set through a prenuptial agreement or through a post nuptial agreement established during marriage.
Florida has a rather prehistoric divorce law currently in its books, however, as of April 2013, lawmakers have been working on reforming those laws by ending lifetime alimony awards. Also up for change were the sky-high payments.
At one time, permanent alimony was considered to be reasonable and acceptable, but with the changing times and new lifestyles emerging, revisiting this law certainly makes sense.
The current law in effect can punish someone who marries in their early 20's and divorces by late 30's by requiring them to support their ex long through retirement. Meanwhile, there is nothing in the current law that requires former spouses to attempt to earn their own living.
Proposed changes to Permanent Alimony under Senate Bill 718:
Sen. Kelli Stargel, R-Lakeland has sponsored Senate Bill 718 which seeks to eliminate permanent alimony and also establishes caps on the monthly awards that are far more realistic and actually based on the length of marriage and income of the ex-spouse.
The new bill also sets guidelines for the monthly payout that would limit the award to no more than 25% of the former spouse's income if the marriage lasted no more than 10 years. A marriage that lasts up to 20 years would see a 35% award cap, and 38% for marriages that last beyond 20 years.
Florida Senate passed the alimony legislation on April 4th, 2013 with a 29-11 vote and the bill also passed in the Florida House on April 18, 2013. The law was expected to apply retroactively if it passed, however, the Governor vetoed the bill on 5/1/2013 and the veto message was transferred to the Secretary of the State on 5/2/2014.
What is the current Florida Law on ending Permanent Alimony?
According to the Florida Alimony Law, 161.08 - Alimony will come to an end if:
"Permanent alimony may be awarded to provide for the needs and necessities of life as they were established during the marriage of the parties for a party who lacks the financial ability to meet his or her needs and necessities of life following dissolution of marriage. Permanent alimony may be awarded following a marriage of long duration, following a marriage of moderate duration if such an award is appropriate upon consideration of the factors set forth in subsection (2), or following a marriage of short duration if there are exceptional circumstances. An award of permanent alimony terminates upon the death of either party or upon the remarriage of the party receiving alimony. An award may be modified or terminated based upon a substantial change in circumstances or upon the existence of supportive relationship in accordance with s. 61.14"
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Content authored by Frank Fernandez