A common concern for Floridians who are getting a divorce is alimony and the duration for which it will be paid. Since some people receive permanent alimony, this is a financial issue that can be problematic for the paying spouse. Factors that are considered are the duration of the marriage and how long it will take for the receiving spouse to gain the education or training for self-support. For people who are considering divorce, it is important to be aware of the law as it currently stands and potential changes that are being proposed.
The permanent alimony system might be changed if a new law is passed. There are bills in the state’s two chambers that would cap the duration for which alimony payments must be made. Some factions of the legal community are protesting this attempt. One representative says that the bill will place greater emphasis on “bridge the gap” alimony. As the term suggests, it is to help the receiving spouse get on his or her feet at which point the alimony would no longer be needed. Only six states in the U.S., including Florida, provide lifetime alimony.
Other forms of alimony will be impacted by the potential new law. Rehabilitative and durational alimony could be changed. Rehabilitative is supposed to be temporary until the receiving spouse is in a stable financial situation. This would be capped at five years. Durational alimony lasts longer and is designed for spouses who were dependent. It would be limited to half the amount of time the couple was married. The bill also ends alimony when the paying spouse reaches retirement age.
Those against this bill say that it could lead to more intense disputes over assets during the divorce because the parties know the alimony is limited in how long it will be paid. While this bill passed on the Florida House of Representatives, there is an identical bill that has yet to be heard in the Florida Senate. This law would dramatically change alimony in the state. Although it is still in the lawmakers’ hands and has yet to be passed, it is an example of why people who are getting a divorce need legal help. Alimony is just one aspect of a case that may be complicated. For every part of a divorce case, it might be useful to contact a law firm experienced in family law as soon as possible.