Alimony Reform

Alimony reform is currently being  considered by the Florida legislature. The Alimony Reform bill is draconian and does the following:

  • Eliminates permanent alimony.
  •  Defines the length of marriages as follows:
    • Short term (0-10 years)
    • Mid term (10-20 years)
    • Long term (Over 20 year)
  • Limits alimony to bridge-the-gap, rehabilitative or durational.
  • Limits durational alimony to 50% of the number of years of the marriage.
  • Prioritizes bridge-the-gap first, rehabilitative alimony second and durational alimony third.
  • Automatically terminates alimony upon normal retirement age for social security benefits. (this means that the alimony will end automatically even if the payor spouse is not retired and continues to work making the same or even more money than when the award was made)
  • Eliminates standard of living as a factor in considering alimony.
  • Limits the consideration of financial resources to those only relied upon by the parties during the marriage when calculating alimony.
  • Creates a rebuttable presumption against awarding alimony for a short-term marriage.
  • Places limitations on the imputation of income. Any increase in an obligor’s income may not be considered permanent unless the income increase has been maintained without interruption for two years.
  • Allows for bifurcation more than 180 days after the date of service of the original petition.
  • This legislation applies to all initial awards and agreements for alimony entered before July 1, 2013, and to all modifications of such awards or agreements made before July 1, 2013. The statute specifically states that the proposed legislation can serve as the basis to modify an agreement for alimony if there is a 25% difference between the old alimony award and the amendments and provides for a schedule which allows parties to file a modification action (an obligor married to the alimony recipient eight years or less can file a modification action on or after July 1, 2013; an obligor married to the alimony recipient eight years or more but less than 15, can file a modification action after July 1, 2014, etc.

The proponents of Florida Alimony Reform  have been working diligently throughout the year to create focus groups of “constituents” impacted in a negative way by alimony who have provided misinformation to state legislators with their stories of unjust treatment by the courts.  It is crucial that those constituents who will be negatively affected by this bill speak up.  If you are an alimony recipient who will be negatively impacted if this bill passes, I encourage you to local senator or state representative and  voice  your opinion.

To learn more about the myths propounded by the proponents of this bill, please visit,  www.truthaboutflaalimony.com. This website was created by the Florida Bar Family Law Section and addresses questions related to the alimony bill. It specifically references House Bill 231 and Senate Bill 718, and lists stories that are helpful in demonstrating the negative impact of this new bill.

 

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