Permanent Alimony Bill Dies in Subcommittee
Over the last few years, a number of Florida lawmakers have proposed revising the state’s family law code to abolish the ordering of permanent alimony by courts across the state. This year was no exception, as House Bill 1325 was filed earlier in 2019, and if passed, would have gone into effect in July. However, like its predecessors, House Bill 1325 did not make it to the Governor’s desk, but died in the Civil Justice Subcommittee earlier this month.
Florida is only one of seven states that still offers permanent alimony, making it especially important for divorcing couples who reside in Florida, to retain an experienced Fort Lauderdale alimony lawyer who is well-versed in state procedure and can ensure that their interests are protected.
2019 Proposed Alimony Reform
House Bill 1325, which was ultimately unsuccessful, had been eight years in the making and included provisions limiting the duration of alimony that have proven successful in other states. If passed, the proposed bill would have eliminated permanent alimony in Florida, which is only one of a handful of states that still allows former spouses to continue receiving regular spousal maintenance payments until:
- The death of one of the parties; or
- The remarriage of the recipient.
Under current law, a payor’s new spouse could even be required to make alimony payments to his or her partner’s ex-spouse if that individual is no longer able to make payments.
Permanent Alimony Concerns
The most recent attempt to overhaul Florida’s alimony law was largely spurred by concerns that the current spousal maintenance system does not give the person who is ordered to make payments the option of reducing or terminating those payments if he or she is unable to work due to poor health, age, or unemployment.
Lawmakers attempted to address these concerns by introducing the use of a formula that would allow divorced spouses to obtain the funds and support that they need in order to get back on their feet and ultimately, begin supporting themselves. If enacted, the proposed legislation would have placed marriages into one of three categories: long-term, meaning that the marriage lasted for over 20 years, mid-term (11-20 years), or short-term (less than 11 years). The amount and duration of the payments that a spouse was required to make would then be determined by the category under which the parties’ marriage fell.
Essentially, legislators hoped that a formula-based approach to alimony reform would place both divorcing spouses on an equal financial footing for a period of time while allowing the recipient to reestablish his or her profession, or train for a new career. In making the change to a transition-based approach to spousal maintenance, lawmakers also anticipated fewer conflicts between divorcing spouses, a reduction in legal fees, and a more consistent result in the settling of divorce cases across the state.
Call Today for Legal Assistance
To schedule a free initial consultation with dedicated Fort Lauderdale alimony lawyer Sandra Bonfiglio, P.A., please call 954-945-7591 or complete one of our brief online contact forms today.