Summary of Florida Alimony Reform Bill

House Bill 231, which proposes broad-reaching changes to Florida’s alimony statute, has passed the Civil Justice Subcommittee.  It next goes to the House Judiciary Committee.

The Judiciary Committee provides the following summary analysis of HB 231:

Alimony provides financial support to a financially dependent former spouse. The primary elements to determine entitlement are need and the ability to pay, but the statutes and case law impose many more criteria. There are four different types of alimony: bridge-the-gap alimony, rehabilitative alimony, durational alimony, and permanent alimony. An award of alimony may be modified or terminated early in certain circumstances.

The bill makes a number of changes to current law on alimony and dissolution of marriage. The bill:

  • Eliminates permanent alimony.
  • Eliminates consideration of the standard of living established during the marriage as a factor in determining alimony.
  • Creates presumptions for earning ability imputed to an obligee.
  • Requires written findings justifying factors regarding an alimony award or modification.

  • Creates evidentiary thresholds for certain awards of alimony or modification.
  • Creates a presumption that the parties will have a lower standard of living after divorce.
  • Limits alimony based on formulas that take into account relative incomes and the length of the marriage.
  • Provides that alimony terminates upon the obligee reaching retirement age.
  • Shifts the burden of proof regarding the need for alimony to the obligee in certain circumstances.
  • Prohibits modification of alimony based solely on a reduction in child support.
  • Allows bifurcation of a dissolution case if pending more than 180 days, and requires bifurcation if pending over 365 days.
  • Allows modification or termination of existing alimony awards.
  • Provides a schedule for review of existing awards of alimony.

This bill does not appear to have a fiscal impact on state or local governments.

The bill provides an effective date of July 1, 2013.

If you have questions about how the alimony bill may affect you and wish to speak with a Tampa Bay alimony attorney, schedule a consultation with The Law Firm of Adam B. Cordover, P.A., by calling us at (813) 443-0615 or filling out our contact form.

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