Florida Legislators Consider End to Permanent Alimony

Florida lawmakers are currently considering a bill which would end permanent alimony awards following divorce. If passed by the Florida Legislature, House Bill 549 would base an award of alimony on the length of the divorcing parties’ marriage. For example, a marriage which lasted for 12 years would be eligible for a maximum alimony award of 12 years. The bill would also cap awards based on the payer’s income and allow payments to cease upon the payer’s retirement.

Earlier this month, the state legislature heard testimony in favor of House Bill 549 from members of the Florida Alimony Reform Group. A member of the group, Hector Torres, has also urged legislators to allow previous awards of permanent alimony to be revisited by courts. According to Torres, the state’s laws are behind the times and it is unfair he must pay alimony until his death after a marriage which lasted only 14 years.

Although the bulk of divorces across the nation involve some sort of alimony award, the money is generally provided to assist a spouse as he or she works to become self-supporting. Today, several states are changing their alimony laws in response to the fact that more spouses work outside of the home. This fall, Massachusetts placed new limits on the length of time alimony may be awarded by courts and ended alimony payments when the payer reaches retirement or the payee begins residing with another partner. Florida recently amended state alimony laws to provide awards solely after marriages of long term duration. Permanent awards now also require a court determination stating no other alimony option is fair or reasonable given the parties’ situation. New Jersey is currently considering legislation to limit alimony awards as well.

In Florida, two requirements must exist before a court will award alimony. They include a need on the part of the payee and an ability to pay on the part of the alimony payor. The first requirement takes into account the distribution of marital assets combined with the parties’ standard of living prior to the end of the marriage. If the potential payee can maintain the same standard of living after all assets are distributed, a court likely will not award alimony.

If you are faced with divorce, you need a skilled lawyer who is focused on family law matters to help you find your way through the legal process. Attorney Sandy T. Fox, a Miami divorce attorney, understands the difficult decisions which must be made during the divorce process. He will explain your rights and discuss with you whether you may be the subject of an alimony award.

Call Sandy T. Fox, a Broward County divorce lawyer, today at (800) 596-0579 if you have divorce, alimony or other family law questions. You may also contact him through his website to schedule a confidential consultation.

More Blog Posts:

Judge Orders Country Singer Mindy McCready to Return Son to Florida, Fort Lauderdale Divorce Lawyer Blog, December 5, 2011
New Florida Bill Would Limit Alimony and Ignore Cheating, Fort Lauderdale Divorce Lawyer Blog, November 19, 2011
Additional Resources:

Bill: Permanent alimony would become thing of past, by Donna Gehrke-White, Sun Sentinel

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