For several years, the Florida legislature has attempted to reform family laws concerning alimony. Though the legislature has not yet been successful, currently bills are moving through the House and Senate that would accomplish this reform. House Bill 455 and Senate Bill 668 lay out all the changes the legislature hopes to make to Florida’s alimony laws.
The biggest change that would take place if the proposed bill passes, would be the termination of different types of alimony. Currently, Florida Statute 61.08 allows a court to award a party bridge-the-gap, rehabilitative, durational or permanent alimony in a dissolution of marriage proceeding. Each of these types of alimony has its own set of requirements and rules. Under House Bill 455, the types of alimony would be discontinued, and only one form of alimony would be available to be awarded by a court.
If a court determines that alimony should be awarded, the court will calculate presumptive ranges for the amount and duration of the alimony award using a set of guidelines outlined in the statute. These ranges will consist of a high and low range, with the presumption that the amount of alimony and the duration of alimony will fall into. The court will then evaluate a list of factors outlined in the statute to determine the specific amount and duration of alimony.
The new alimony law would allow a court to deviate an alimony award from the presumptive range. However, this would only be allowed if the court considered all of the factors outlined in the statute, and made a specific finding that awarding alimony in the presumptive range would be inappropriate or inequitable.
If you have questions regarding the potential new alimony laws, please contact our attorneys at 904-353-7733.