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Florida Alimony Reform 2023: New Law Update

Tampa alimony divorce lawyers Florida

Going through a divorce in Florida can be a complex and emotional process, with numerous legal and financial considerations. One of the most significant financial aspects of a divorce settlement is alimony, also known as spousal support or spousal maintenance. In 2023, Florida’s alimony laws underwent a major overhaul with the passage of the Alimony Reform Act of 2023

This article will guide you through the key changes in the new law and how they impact individuals going through a divorce in Florida. We’ll break down the different types of alimony now available, the factors courts consider when awarding alimony, and the potential impact of the new law on both parties involved.

If you need help navigating alimony, contact the Tampa alimony attorneys of All Family Law Group, P.A. online or call 813-672-1900 for a free consultation. 

We are committed to providing you with the best representation possible. Se habla Español.

The End of Permanent Alimony in Florida

Alimony, also known as spousal support or maintenance, is a financial arrangement in a Florida divorce settlement where one spouse pays the other regular payments to help them maintain their standard of living after the marriage ends.

Prior to July 1, 2023, Florida courts had the authority to award permanent alimony, which meant payments would continue indefinitely until the death or remarriage of the receiving spouse (§ 61.08(1), Florida Statutes (2022)). This could create significant financial burdens on the paying spouse, especially in long-term marriages.

The Florida Alimony Reform Act of 2023 significantly changed how alimony is awarded in the state. One of the most impactful changes is the elimination of permanent alimony. This means that courts can no longer order payments to continue indefinitely for any divorce finalized on or after July 1, 2023. It allows for the termination of alimony when the paying spouse reaches the customary retirement age.

The new law establishes time limits and specific criteria for different types of alimony.

Types of Alimony Available Now

Tampa alimony divorce lawyers Florida

The Florida Alimony Reform Act of 2023 replaced the single option of permanent alimony with four distinct types of spousal support.

Understanding these options is crucial when navigating a divorce settlement under the new law.

Temporary Alimony

Temporary alimony is designed to provide short-term financial assistance to the lower-earning spouse during the divorce proceedings.

This allows the spouse to maintain their standard of living while securing employment or establishing financial independence (§ 61.08(2), Florida Statutes (2023)). Temporary alimony is typically awarded for a limited duration, often lasting only a few months until a final settlement is reached.

To qualify for temporary alimony, the requesting spouse must demonstrate a need for financial support and the inability to maintain their living situation without assistance.

Bridge-the-Gap Alimony

Similar to temporary alimony, bridge-the-gap alimony aims to provide short-term support to help the receiving spouse adjust to their new financial reality after the divorce (§ 61.08(2), Florida Statutes (2023)). 

Unlike temporary alimony, which focuses on immediate needs during the legal process, bridge-the-gap alimony helps with post-divorce adjustments. This alimony award might include covering costs associated with establishing a separate residence, obtaining new furniture, or childcare needs. 

Bridge-the-gap alimony is limited to a two-year duration.

Rehabilitative Alimony

Rehabilitative alimony focuses on helping the receiving spouse acquire the skills or education necessary to re-enter the workforce and achieve financial self-sufficiency (§ 61.08(3), Florida Statutes (2023)). 

Imagine a spouse who has stayed home to raise children for many years and may not have the qualifications to secure a well-paying job. Rehabilitative alimony can help them pursue higher education or job training programs to increase their earning potential. 

The duration of rehabilitative alimony is capped at a maximum of five years, absent court intervention. When awarding rehabilitative alimony, the court will consider factors like the length of time the spouse was out of the workforce, their age, educational background, and the potential for successful retraining.

Durational Alimony

Durational alimony is the long-term alimony option under the new law. It provides financial support to the spouse with a lower earning capacity for a set period determined by the court (§ 61.08(4), Florida Statutes (2023)). 

The new law introduces significant changes to durational alimony by establishing limitations on its duration based on the length of the marriage:

  • Marriages under three years: Not eligible for durational alimony.
  • Marriages lasting 3-10 years: Durational alimony is capped at 50% of the marriage length. For example, in a five-year marriage, durational alimony could not exceed two and a half years.
  • Marriages lasting 10-20 years: Durational alimony is capped at 60% of the marriage length.
  • Marriages lasting over 20 years: Durational alimony is capped at 75% of the marriage length. These new limits are particularly impactful for long term marriages, as they provide a structured guideline for the duration of support.

It’s important to note that courts can exceed the durational alimony cap under exceptional circumstances. This might include situations where the receiving spouse has a disability that significantly limits their ability to work and maintain financial independence (§ 61.08(4)(c), Florida Statutes (2023)).

Tampa alimony divorce lawyers Florida

Factors Affecting Alimony Awards

Florida courts consider various factors to ensure a fair and equitable outcome for both parties when determining alimony awards under the new law.

Below are some of the key factors that the judge will weigh.

Length of the Marriage

The duration of the marriage is a significant factor. Generally, longer marriages are more likely to result in alimony awards, and the potential amount or duration of alimony may increase with the length of the marriage.

Income Disparity Between Spouses

The greater the disparity in income between the spouses, the more likely it is that alimony will be awarded, and the amount awarded may be higher. The court will consider each spouse’s current income, as well as their future earning potential.

Earning Capacity of Each Spouse

The court will look beyond current income and assess each spouse’s potential for future earnings. This includes factors like education, work experience, age, and health. For example, a younger spouse with a limited work history may be awarded rehabilitative alimony to help them develop their earning potential.

Age and Health of Each Spouse

The age and health of each spouse can significantly impact their ability to earn a living. A spouse with a disability or health condition that limits their ability to work may be eligible for alimony, even in a shorter marriage.

Standard of Living During the Marriage

The court will consider the couple’s lifestyle during the marriage. This helps determine the appropriate level of support needed for the lower-earning spouse to maintain a comparable standard of living after the divorce.

Contribution of Each Spouse to the Marriage

Courts consider more than just financial contributions. The court will consider non-monetary contributions such as childcare responsibilities, homemaking, or career support provided by one spouse that may have impacted their earning potential. For example, a spouse who stayed home to raise children for many years may be awarded alimony to compensate for the lost opportunity to advance their career.

Additionally, alimony can be modified if a supportive relationship exists or has existed with the ex-spouse.  That it is a supportive relationship must be proven with evidence of the support.

Impact of the Florida Alimony Reform

Tampa alimony divorce lawyers Florida

Florida’s new alimony laws are likely to significantly impact both parties involved in a divorce. The new law provides more certainty regarding the duration and amount of support through alimony awards, ensuring predictability and potentially fairness.

For the spouse who would have previously received permanent alimony, the new law provides more certainty regarding the duration and amount of support they can expect. However, the limitations on durational alimony might also mean receiving less financial assistance than under the previous system, especially in long-term marriages. Ongoing efforts to reform Florida alimony laws could further impact individuals by introducing new guidelines and formulas.

The new law offers predictability with finite payment obligations for the spouse paying alimony. However, higher alimony awards in shorter marriages and the possibility of exceeding the durational cap under exceptional circumstances can still create financial burdens. Additionally, the changes to alimony payments, such as the replacement of permanent alimony with durational alimony, emphasize the need for careful legal strategy to ensure a fair outcome.

Our Divorce and Alimony Attorneys in Tampa Can Help

At All Family Law Group, P.A., our divorce and alimony attorneys will help you navigate the alimony process successfully to obtain the best resolution possible.

Call us now at 813-672-1900 or connect with us online to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case and to provide options available.  Se habla Español.


All Family Law Group, P.A.
The law firm of All Family Law Group, P.A. provides legal services to the Florida cities including Tampa, Clearwater, Brandon, Riverview, Hyde Park, South Tampa, Ybor City, Northdale, Valrico, Gibsonton, Lithia, Mango, Palm River, Plant City, Seffner, Sun City Center, Wimauma, Apollo Beach, Ruskin, Temple Terrace, Carrollwood, Northdale, Westchase, Citrus Park, Town N Country, Thonotosassa, Lutz, Fish Hawk, New Tampa, St. Petersburg, Palm Harbor, MacDill Air Force Base and all of Hillsborough, Pinellas and Pasco Counties. We will also represent DIVORCE clients in Polk, Hernando or Manatee Counties.

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