Alimony Reform Attempted Once Again in Florida

When a couple is in the middle of a divorce, there are several legal, financial, and emotional issues that must be resolved before they can go their separate ways. In Florida, there has been a push in recent years to recognize fairer standards by which a couple may part ways and equitably divide not only the marital assets but recognize the contributions that each person has made. Alimony is the provision of funds between a divorced couple that, depending on the financial circumstances and specific facts of the marriage, determines how much and to what extent one partner will financially support the other. Because of family dynamics intrinsic to marriage and family, in the past, alimony was the attempt to settle a great disparity between the individual in the couple who was the breadwinner and the individual in the couple who raised the children and maintained the home. Alimony was the way in which the individual who stayed at home and cared for the house and children would be able to be financially solvent once the divorce was finalized.

If you are in the middle of a divorce and are looking to receive alimony or are interested in modifying your alimony payments, it is important to speak with an experienced family law attorney.

The History of Alimony and Alimony Reform

However, alimony reform has made a big push in recent years. First and foremost, alimony reform removed traditional gender roles from the statutes. More women than ever have made their way into the workplace and become equal if not greater breadwinners for their families.

In Florida, depending on the duration of the marriage, many felt it was unfair that alimony would be paid forever or until the ex-spouse either remarried, cohabitated with a romantic partner, or died. Many felt that at some point, alimony payments should come to an end because the ex-spouse was given enough time to get back on his or her feet and find financial autonomy.

The Newest Formula in Alimony Reform

In January 2017, a new bill was submitted to once again attempt to tackle lifetime alimony. The alimony bill not only reassesses the definitions that alimony law is based on, but also dictates a different structure by which alimony should be provided.

The proposed bill requires that each of the parties determines his or hermonthly gross income (potential or actual income) and the amount of potential or actual income that comes from non-marital and marital property. This amount, as well as the number of years that the marriage lasted are then put into a formula that determines the presumptive alimony amount. This is calculated by multiplying 0.015 by the number of years of marriage and then multiplying that figure by the difference between monthly gross incomes of parties. This would be the low end. The high end of the presumptive alimony amount range shall be calculated by multiplying 0.020 by the number of years of marriage and then that figure is multiplied by the difference between the monthly gross incomes of the parties. The presumptive alimony range is a negative number, then the person that has requested alimony would receive $0.

The bill then goes on to determine the alimony award and the extent to which duration of marriage figures into the presumptive alimony range that would be permissible and in the discretion of the Court would be found presumptively fair.

Please contact West Palm Beach family law attorney William Wallshein for a confidential consultation.