For the second time in the last three years a new Alimony bill was proposed and has failed to make its way into the Florida Statutes. In 2013 many of you remember an Alimony bill was vetoed by Governor Rick Scott.
In 2013 a bill was proposed that ended permanent periodic alimony that had been preserved primarily for long term marriages. That bill, however, allowed those already paying permanent periodic alimony to go back to court and modify the Final Judgment to take out permanent periodic alimony. The Family Law Section of the Florida Bar did not support this bill for that specific reason. In 2015 a second bill was defeated for different reasons and under different circumstances. First, the Florida House and Florida Senate were at an impasse regarding the budget so the Florida House ended their regular 2015 session early . The House version was approved and while the Senate was preparing their version this budget impasse ended the session. Second, the bill created a
presumption for equal or 50/50 time sharing without the language necessary to allow a person the rebut that presumption if equal time is not in the best interest of the minor child or children. It should be noted that the Family Law Section did not support the bill due to the equal time sharing language – the Section felt that there needed to be express language in the bill allowing parents to rebut the 50/50 presumption.
The 2015 bill completely changed the way alimony is ordered presently. For example, there would have been a presumption against alimony for marriages that are two years or less and a calculation to determine alimony for marriages between two years and twenty years. For marriages over twenty years a mathematical calculation would be used to determine alimony with a cap at twenty years duration unless the duration of the alimony was half the length of the marriage. Then the cap would be twenty-five years.
All of the above seems complicated and there is some language that I disagree with. I will save that argument for the next version of the law that I am sure we will see in the coming years. The moral is if you are in an alimony situation with your current or pending divorce this law may affect you depending on when the legislation is introduced and the bill becomes law. If you have any further questions do not hesitate to contact me.