If you’re paying permanent alimony in Florida, you may soon have some relief.
HB 231, a new bill that’s working its way through the Florida legislature, would limit durational alimony to 50 percent of the length of the marriage — unless there is “clear and convincing evidence that exceptional circumstances” make longer alimony necessary.
If passed into law, the bill would also make it easier for people to end or reduce alimony as they approach retirement, and it would allow for “retroactivity,” which would let people reopen existing alimony arrangements to try to reduce their payments.
HB 231 has passed the Florida House Civil Justice Subcommittee and next goes before the House Judiciary Committee. A similar measure, SB 718, has been introduced into the Florida Senate.
Family law attorneys from the Family Law Section of the Florida Bar have opposed the bill, especially its support of retroactivity, which they say could open up a “flood” of litigation.
The bill will likely face other opponents as well, so the future of alimony in Florida is unclear. But even if it doesn’t pass, there are circumstances that can end alimony — even if it was supposed to be permanent alimony.
Factors That Influence Alimony Arrangements
Before examining potential reasons for alimony removal, let’s look at factors that influence how much alimony the court awards and for how long.
An important factor is how much money both spouses can be expected to earn in the future. The more you can be expected to earn, the more you may be expected to pay.
Longer marriages usually mean longer alimony. Marriages of more than 10 years often mean permanent alimony.
Some states consider fault when awarding alimony, meaning that guilty parties may have to pay more or receive less because of their indiscretions.
The courts usually consider younger spouses to be more resilient, and so they usually award them shorter periods of alimony.
The education level of both spouses, and the disparity between them, can also affect how alimony is awarded.
Circumstances That Can Remove Alimony
Laws vary from state to state, but if your ability to pay or your ex’s needs decrease, you may be able to have your alimony lessened or removed. So if you lose your job, get a pay cut or if your ex gets a raise or an inheritance, discuss your options with a family law attorney.
Your alimony can also be removed if your ex starts living with another man. And if she remarries, your obligation to support her almost always ends.
Are you paying permanent alimony? What do you think of Florida’s HB 231? Leave us a comment below.