Upcoming Changes to Alimony Law in 2016
Upon choosing to divorce, many couples immediately consider the possibility of an alimony award decided by the court. To be sure, while alimony may not be automatically awarded, a higher-earning spouse could be directed to provide compensation to his or her spouse for a specific period of time, depending on a number of specifics.
And recently, in Florida, legislation has been introduced that will directly affect alimony payments if it passes, and that divorcing spouses and their attorneys should monitor closely. Specifically, House Bill 455/Senate Bill 250 could pass this session, drastically affecting alimony payments as soon as this coming fall.
House Bill 455/Senate Bill 250
House Bill 455 would change the factors used in calculating alimony pendente lite. Specifically, once a court determines that alimony is needed and can be paid, the court must consider the amount of each party’s gross income and the years of marriage–first and foremost. After making this initial finding, the court must calculate the presumptive alimony range based on a formula which is rooted in the years of marriage and the difference between the monthly incomes of the parties.
Clearly, the number of years of marriage plays front and center in determining alimony in this proposed legislation, as, with marriages of two years or less, there is a rebuttable presumption that no alimony shall be awarded. With marriages that lasted longer than two years, the court must consider all of the following factors:
- Financial resources of the recipient, including any income from non-marital or marital property or any other source, as well as the ability of the recipient to meet their needs;
- The financial resources of the payer, including the same concerns such as income from marital and/or nonmarital property;
- The standard of living during the marriage;
- The equitable distribution of marital property, including whether marital property alleviates the need for alimony;
- Both parties’ income, employment, and/or ability to become employed through “reasonable diligence,” and any necessary reduction in employment due to a child’s needs;
- Whether a party could reduce the need for alimony by obtaining additional educational or vocational training;
- Historical incomes (and the difference between them);
- Whether either party postponed educational or employment opportunities during the marriage;
- Whether either party contributed to any dissipation of marital assets;
- Any temporary alimony already paid;
- The age, health, physical, and mental condition of the parties;
- Any significant economic or noneconomic contributions to the marriage or educational/occupational advancement of one of the parties;
- Tax consequences of an alimony award; and
- Any other factor necessary to ensure equity and justice between the parties.
Contact Us for Representation
If you are contemplating a divorce, contact the office of Sandra Bonfiglio, P.A. for assistance during this time. We serve clients in Boca Raton, Fort Lauderdale, and surrounding areas, and pride ourselves on giving them peace of mind through this process.