Alimony has always been a controversial topic. While the reasoning behind it is very logical and sound, various interpretations of how it should be applied have been met with anger, hostility, and fear.

Well, if you find yourself experiencing one of those emotions, you may be in luck. Some proposed changes to Florida’s alimony laws intend to soothe some nerves and modernize the system.

While fights over alimony laws have certainly made headlines before, it seems as if many of the various involved camps are finally on-board with a new plan: To eliminate permanent alimony, and determine payout amounts based on the length of the marriage, and a couple’s combined earnings. Not everyone is optimistic about the measure (HB 943), saying that the new system favors those who make the money.

Republican Rep. Colleen Burton disagrees that it favors any one side, saying that the new measure will “streamline, as much as possible, a difficult process for any family that’s going through a divorce, all the while, leaving the final determination in the hands of a judge.”

The details of the measure are quite complex, but distilled down, it is as follows:

  • Temporary alimony will remain unchanged, while eliminating bridge-the-gap, durational, permanent, and rehabilitative alimonies.
  • Marriages under 20 years will be considered short-term, while 20+ years will be long-term. Short-term payment amounts are less than long-term, as is the time period in which payments will occur.
  • Alimony amounts will be determined by taking the higher-earner’s salary minus the lower-earner’s salary, and then factoring in the length of the marriage.

There are many other factors that come into play, such as the length of time alimony must be paid, but the main point of the measure is to simplify the rules of how alimony is applied.

Existing alimony agreements will not be affected, but any active modifications will be subject to the new rules, as will any new alimony agreements. Keep in mind, this measure has not passed yet, but it does have a lot of support behind it.

If you ever have any questions or concerns about alimony agreements, do not hesitate to get in touch with an experienced family law attorney. They will be able to put to rest any concerns you might have.