Will Florida Eliminate Alimony Altogether?
There is no question that alimony is a difficult issue here in Florida. The courts are ordering alimony to be paid less and less often, and for shorter lengths of time, and this is only getting more and more difficult; especially as some special interest groups work to convince legislators and the state to pass a bill to do away with permanent alimony entirely.
Enforcement has also gotten worse over time, with many exes ex-spouses currently owed huge amounts of money; some even going into debt because their ex stopped paying alimony. Now, a number of people are also concerned about the continuing efforts to do away with permanent alimony here in Florida; concerns that it could leave homemakers standing in line for food stamps while their exes are enjoying lavish lifestyles.
Previous & Current Legislation to Eliminate Alimony & Mandate Equal Time Sharing in Child Custody
Florida’s previous governor (Scott) vetoed similar bills aimed at eliminating alimony, concerned that it could apply to past alimony awards; while also being opposed to additional provisions included in these bills that would mandate equal time sharing between parents; noting that such provisions could end up placing the needs of the parent before the child’s best interest. Versions of the bill were again introduced in 2019; again cutting lifetime alimony; and encouraging judges to award equal time sharing in child custody proceedings; regardless of the circumstances. An additional feature would also retroactively limit alimony to half the marriage.
The Current Law on Alimony in Florida
Alimony has lasted through time under the reasoning that both spouses should “share the losses“ associated with a divorce, including the spouse who may have lost earning potential because they stayed home with the children. As of 2017, more than 250,000 people were receiving alimony income, with approximately 98 percent of them being women.
Each state has its own criteria for determining whether to award alimony (also referred to as “maintenance” in Florida). In Florida, in deciding whether to award alimony, the court considers a number of factors, including but not limited to:
- the standard of living established during the marriage;
- the age and physical and emotional condition of the parties;
- the duration of the marriage;
- the financial resources of the parties;
- the earning capacities of the parties (including vocational and educational levels);
- the contribution of each part of the marriage;
- any responsibilities they will have with regard to children;
- the tax treatment consequences of an alimony award;
- all sources of income; and
- any other factor necessary to do equity and justice.
Contact Our Florida Alimony Lawyers to Find Out More
There is no question that, when a couple gets divorced, one spouse can be left at a severe financial disadvantage which, while, historically, usually involved more stay-at-home moms, today could involve anyone. At the Arwani Law Firm, PLLC, we have significant experience here in Florida on alimony issues during divorce and thereafter. Contact our Orlando alimony attorneys today to find out how we can help.