It has been reported that alimony reform may be back on the legislative agenda for 2014. In 2013, both the Florida House and Senate passed a bill reforming alimony law, but the legislation was vetoed by Governor Rick Scott. So, what is alimony?
Alimony in Florida
Alimony is spousal support given by one spouse to the other, usually after separation or divorce. There are four types of alimony awarded under Florida’s alimony statute. They are:
- Bridge the gap: Short-term support designed to help the recipient transition to single life and paid for a maximum of two years
- Rehabilitative: Designed to help the recipient become self-supporting through education, training etc.
- Durational: Alimony paid for a fixed period of time
- Permanent: Awarded until the death of either party
One of the bill’s key reforms was the abolition of permanent alimony in the majority of cases. Other proposed reforms included:
- Reducing alimony payments when the paying ex-spouse retires, loses his or her job or takes a cut in salary
- A cap on awards based on income and the duration of the marriage
- Changes to child custody laws
- Allowing the paying ex-spouse to retroactively reopen a case and seek an adjustment to the alimony payments
This last reform allowing retroactive changes to existing alimony arrangements proved to be one of the more controversial proposals. In a statement that gave his reasons for blocking the bill, Gov. Scott cited concerns that adjusting alimony retroactively could lead to unanticipated and unfair results and would interfere with many Floridians’ settled economic expectations. Campaigners for alimony reform are hoping that by fine-tuning the legislation, they will be able to overcome the governor’s objections.
For advice on alimony issues, speak to an experienced Daytona divorce lawyer.