A bill to dramatically reform alimony in the state of Florida passed both houses before it was vetoed by Governor Rick Scott on May 2, 2013. The bill set limits on the amount of alimony and how long it could last, and made it harder to get alimony in many instances. One of the governor’s biggest objections to the bill was the provision allowing retroactive changes to long-settled alimony deals. The bill’s non-passage means that alimony laws in Florida remain the same — for the time being. Florida alimony reform sponsors are promising to bring the bill back. In the meantime, the factors the Courts must consider in deciding whether to award alimony and the types of alimony available in Florida are provided in this two-part series.
Factors Which Impact Whether and How Much Alimony is Awarded in Florida
- Standard of living established during the marriage
- The length of the marriage (Marriages of less than seven years are usually considered short-term marriages; marriages of greater than seven years, but less than 17 years, are usually considered moderate-term marriages; and marriages of 17 years or greater are usually considered long-term marriages.)
- Each party's age and physical and emotional condition
- Each spouse’s financial resources, including non-marital and marital assets and liabilities of each spouse
- The earning capacities, educational levels, vocational skills and employability of each spouse and, if applicable, the amount of time it would take for either spouse to acquire the training or education needed to find employment and be completely or partially self-supporting
- Each spouse’s contributions to the marriage, including services provided by one spouse related to homemaking, child care and career building of the other party
- Responsibilities of each party after the divorce regarding caring for minor children
- Tax treatment and consequences to both spouses of any alimony award
- All sources of income available to either spouse
- Any other factor necessary to do equity and justice between the parties
If you are facing a divorce in Florida, a qualified and experienced attorney will work to obtain an alimony decision or agreement which is fair under all of the circumstances. Check back next week for coverage on the types of alimony presently available in Florida, and when and how it may be modified or terminated.
Attorney Shane Herbert also contributed to this blog post.