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Florida's Revised Alimony Statute

In 2010, Florida adopted a new alimony statute that clarified the previously conflicting case law on this subject. The statute provides that a court may award bridge the gap, rehabilitative, durational or permanent alimony or any combination of these. The court may consider the adultery of either spouse in determining whether to award alimony.

The court must first determine whether either party has a need for and an ability to pay alimony. Once this determination has been made, the court then can apply the following factors in determining the type and amount of alimony:

  1. The standard of living established during the marriage
  2. The duration of the marriage
  3. The age and the physical and emotional condition of each party
  4. The financial resources of each party, including the non-marital and the marital assets and liabilities distributed to each
  5. The earning capacities, educational levels, vocational skills, and employability of the parties and, when applicable, the time necessary for either party to acquire sufficient education or training to enable such party to find appropriate employment
  6. The contribution of each party to the marriage, including, but not limited to, services rendered in homemaking, child care, education, and career building of the other party
  7. The responsibilities each party will have with regard to any minor children they have in common
  8. The tax treatment and consequences to both parties of any alimony award, including the designation of all or a portion of the payment as a nontaxable, nondeductible payment
  9. All sources of income available to either party, including income available to either party through investments of any asset held by that party In addition The court may consider any other factor necessary to do equity and justice between the parties

These are some big changes. Items g and h and I are new and item e has been reworded. Items 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 10 are carried over unchanged from the prior statute. The biggest change in the new statute, however, has to do with the classification of marriages as short term, medium term and long term, as follows:

  • " For purposes of determining alimony, there is a rebuttable presumption that a short-term marriage is a marriage having a duration of less than 7 years, a moderate-term marriage is a marriage having a duration of greater than 7 years but less than 17 years, and long-term marriage is a marriage having a duration of 17 years or greater. The length of a marriage is the period of time from the date of marriage until the date of filing of an action for dissolution of marriage."
  • The statute then goes on to describe when each type of alimony may be awarded and when it can be modified or terminated. For the full text of the statute see HB 907.
  • The new statute is effective July 01, 2010 and applies to all cases pending or filed on July 01, 2010. It does not apply to alimony awards entered prior to July 01, 2010.

Dana Bowie

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