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Florida Bill Would Lower Alimony after Retirement

The same legislation that would end permanent alimony in Florida would also let people reduce or eliminate their payments once they retire. The House and Senate versions of the bill were filed last week that would overhaul the state’s current system of alimony and for the first time would institute a formula to determine the amount of support a former spouse should receive.

Details of the New Law

Under the proposed bill, judges would be required to look at the length of the marriage in addition to the difference in income between the spouses when determining the proper amount of spousal support. Alimony payments would be shorter and lower for marriages that lasted less than 20 years.

In addition, former spouses paying alimony would be able to petition to reduce or end payments once they reach retirement age. It would fall under the exception of a “substantial change in circumstance” that would apply once the paying spouse became eligible for full Social Security benefits.

Other Propositions of the Bill

Under the proposed legislation, the overhaul to the alimony system in Florida would extend to other areas of family law. The other changes that would be made to the current law would include:

  • Judges would have to consider whether a spouse could be earning more money, which would affect the amount of alimony;
  • Former spouses paying alimony would not have to pay more than 55% of their net income for alimony and child support payments combined;
  • If the paying spouse remarried, the new spouse’s assets and income could not be used as a reason to increase the amount of alimony paid;
  • Alimony payments could not be increased simply because the paying spouse’s salary increased;
  • Spouses in marriages that lasted two years or less would not receive alimony unless there are extreme extenuating circumstances; and
  • Finally, both spouses share child custody unless a judge finds in a written decision that it is not in the best interests of the child.

Responses to the Bill

Many people are lauding the proposed legislation as a way that would create more predictability and fairness for alimony payments. If implemented as enacted, it would give more certainty than the current system, and alimony payers could work harder to make more money without fear of increased payments.

However, the First Wives First group of Florida has stated that this legislation is even worse than the bill vetoed by the governor in 2013. “”The 2015 bill is far more punitive to middle-aged and senior women than the 2013 version . . . If you do the math behind the proposed presumptive alimony amounts and duration range; it becomes clear that the bill was written for the wealthy breadwinner.”

Call a Florida Family Law Attorney

If you or a loved one has questions regarding the proposed alimony reform or other issues regarding family law in the Orlando area, let the professionals at the office of Steve W. Marsee, P.A. help. Call the office or contact us today for a free and confidential review of your claims.

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