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Understanding Florida’s current alimony law

On Behalf of | May 16, 2024 | Family Law

Last year, Florida finally changed its alimony law after years of political debate. What do these changes mean for couples divorcing this year – and for those who have alimony agreements that can be modified?

The biggest change – and the most debated one – is the end of permanent alimony.  – at least for divorcing couples. Spouses who were already ordered to receive permanent alimony prior to the law taking effect last July can continue to receive alimony under those terms unless they have a support agreement that can be modified. Even if they do, the paying spouse would need to show that there are valid grounds for modification.  

What is durational alimony?

Although permanent alimony is no longer an option for courts to order, the other two types – rehabilitative and bridge-the-gap alimony – remain options. There’s now another type available called durational alimony. This type of support is based in part on how long the marriage lasted. It’s available only if the marriage lasts at least three years. 

The duration of the alimony payments depends in part on the length of the marriage. However, they can’t continue for longer than three-fourths the length of the marriage. For example, if a couple was married for 12 years, one spouse can’t be ordered to pay durational alimony for longer than nine years. Like other types of alimony, it ends if the receiving spouse remarries.

The law states that durational alimony is “the amount determined to be the obligee’s reasonable need, or an amount not to exceed 35 percent of the difference between the parties’ net incomes, whichever amount is less.” Other factors like both spouses’ age and health are also considered.

Whichever side of the alimony equation you’re on, it’s crucial to understand the law and how it applies to your case. That’s one reason it’s important to have experienced legal guidance.