Originally, the purpose of permanent alimony was to protect wives, who, historically, lacked the financial ability to meet their needs as they were established during the marriage. As women achieved educational attainments and career growth that equaled or exceeded those of men, and as couples shared family roles, many of the laws designed to meet historical roles became obsolete or resulted in inconsistent or unfair results.
As of Spring 2015, the Florida legislature seemed poised to dispose of the existing law and pass radically new requirements for entitlement to and amount of alimony. Although other political issues intervened to forestall the progress of much of the new, proposed legislation from the 2015 session, 2016 remains an open season for alimony changes.
One of the two biggest changes to the concept of alimony that is anticipated is inclusion in the statute of specific guidance on the calculation of the amount of alimony. The proposed legislation from 2015 uses a formula which takes into account the number of years that the parties have been married, the difference in their income and whether the marriage falls within the definition of a short or long term marriage.
The other big change to alimony is that the concept of permanent alimony may be toned down. Instead of continuing to consider multiple factors and allowing judicial latitude, as exists now, the 2015 bill included guidelines based on the length of the marriage with multipliers intended to further reduce the length of the award itself.
These changes, and others, could affect not only future divorces, but could also lead to the modification of the terms of past divorce judgments.
If you are considering divorce or thinking of seeking modification of your existing judgment, we can update you on any changes in the law that may affect your situation and help you plan for the future.
Contact the MaraLawFirm in Ormond Beach with any Florida family law questions.