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Florida Alimony Reform 2014

Florida alimony reform has recently become a forefront issue with lawmakers throughout the state with the Alimony Reform Bill passing Florida's Senate on April 4, 2013. Although vetoed by Governor Rick Scott on May 1, 2013, this important issue will inevitably resurface to become, yet again, a prominent subject that requires improvement. Florida, a no fault divorce state, has needed alimony reform for quite some time, with several stringent practices still in place that are simply out of line with the current state of financial need among married couples.

Florida Alimony ReformThe sidelined bill proposed several major changes which would be key issues for a divorce lawyer to consider when taking on cases involving alimony. One of the biggest changes involves permanent spousal support. From the time of legal separation until the divorce is final, there is most likely the need for adequate spousal support. Divorce lawyer is often given the task of obtaining as much support as possible for the lacking party in order toeasily transition from married to single life. Within the realm of the current legislation, permanent alimony may be awarded. However, this antiquated solution is no longer a financial reality for most payees and simply can not continue to be present within the statute. Suggested changes to the bill would eliminate permanent alimony and set limits to, essentially, equal one half of the number of years the couple remained married.

Another important change to current Florida laws regarding alimony that was proposed were definitions regarding marriage length. Seemingly simple in nature, these terms are very important.

Currently, there are three definitions on the books:

  • Short-Term Marriage: a marriage with a duration of less than seven years
  • Medium-Term Marriage: a marriage with a duration of seven to seventeen years
  • Long-Term Marriage: a marriage with a duration of more than seventeen years

The proposed changes would alter these definitions to:

  • Short-Term Marriage: a marriage with a duration of up to eleven years
  • Medium-Term Marriage: a marriage with a duration of eleven to twenty years
  • Long-Term Marriage: a marriage with a duration of more than twenty years

These definitions are important for the divorce attorney andthe client as courts would only favor alimony in long-term marriages, although short andmedium term marriages could gain consideration based on specific circumstances.
The third, and probably most impactful, change is the inceptionof actual alimony guidelines. Currently, Florida laws do not establish recommendations with regard to alimony which, essentially, makes distribution more difficult for all involved.

However, the proposed Florida alimony reform will set strict guidelines that would endorse the following:

  • Short-Term Marriage: payment of 25% of gross income of the payee
  • Medium-Term Marriage: payment of 35% of gross income of the payee
  • Long-Term Marriage: payment of 38% of gross income of the payee

Florida alimony reform is a subject that requires carefulconsideration within the legislative realm of government in order to establish uniform patterns of award calculation and distribution. It's unfortunate that approximately 50% of all marriages eventuallydissolve, but providing for an uncomplicated transition into single life should be of concern for all parties involved in order to adequately preserve family values and perpetuate legal consistency. For more detailed information on divorce litigation or to obtain a highly qualified divorce attorney, please call Howard S. Ehrlich, P.A., at (954) 977-6622.

OFFICE: 954. 977. 6622
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FL 33067