2013 Alimony Law Update
As of this printing, a new statute has just been signed by the Governor – making significant changes to Florida alimony awards. While the new law does not implement any earth-shattering changes, it does standardize categories and purposes of alimony.
The new law also lengthens the amount of time the marriage must last before permanent alimony becomes a strong claim. After the effective date of the new statute, there will be standardized types of alimony.
Bridge the Gap Alimony
An alimony award designed to help someone through a transition – from married life to single life. The statute will limit the length of the award to no more than two years. Bridge the Gap Alimony cannot be modified after it is awarded. In other words the court cannot increase the amount, nor can they lengthen the period to be paid.
This type of alimony is intended to help someone go back to school for a new career, improve job skills, or take a refresher course. The underlying purpose is to increase or establish the income of a non-working spouse or a spouse that does not earn enough to live on. One requirement of Rehabilitative Alimony is that there needs to be a written rehabilitation plan. For example, a plan can consist of a budget for a college degree along with necessary living expenses.
The new alimony statute created Durational Alimony. This is a short-term alimony award that would be appropriate if none of the other categories are suitable. The new statute suggests that Moderate Term marriages of between 7 and 17 years would be appropriate for Durational Alimony. A durational award may be later modified in amount but not in length.
As always, judges must consider a variety of factors when deciding on alimony issues. Key factors that remain in place and some new factors include:
- Length of the marriage
- The marital standard of living Income of both parties
- Income available from investments
- Presence of minor children
Overall, the new Alimony Statute should give people some predictability in advance and give better guidance to judges. © The Divorce Center PA