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Will Alimony Change if New Laws Go into Effect?

On February 14, 2013 a proposal to amend Florida’s alimony laws passed in the Florida House Civil Justice subcommittee. It still has a long way to go before becoming law, although some pundits are certain some version of the bill will be enacted.

The proposed bill would provide new criteria for determining alimony, allow for termination of alimony in certain cases, repeal permanent alimony and advance many other ground-breaking revisions.

This bill has yet to be enacted into law and has been criticized by the family law section of the Florida bar and certain women’s rights groups as harsh, unfair and potentially leading to more unnecessary litigation.

As the law stands today there are a few types of alimony: permanent, durational, rehabilitative and bridge-the-gap.

Permanent alimony is awarded to provide for the needs and necessities of the spouse who lacks the financial ability to meet these needs themselves. This type of alimony has the largest financial value and is the most common form of alimony.

When deciding if and how much alimony to award the court takes certain factors into consideration.

  • The court determines whether there is a need for alimony and whether the other side has the ability to pay it. In this calculation the court takes care not to lead to a result where the payer has less income than the recipient of alimony.
  • The court takes into consideration the couple’s standard of living during marriage, the duration of their marriage, the parties’ ages, their financial resources, earning capacities, contribution to the marriage and many other factors.
  • The court does not award permanent alimony if any other type of alimony would suffice. The requirement to pay alimony terminates upon the death of either party or the remarriage of the party receiving alimony.

One of the major consequences of divorce can be a substantial reduction in lifestyle. Before filing for divorce and before agreeing to any division of property, consult with an experienced Boca family law attorney to help assess your rights and obligations with regard to the payment of alimony.

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