For the last couple years, various lobbying groups have attempted to reform Florida’s alimony laws. While bills were previously proposed, and one was even passed by the legislature in 2016, Gov. Rick Scott vetoed that bill in 2017 due to the child time-sharing issues included in the bill, and the other bills never even made it to the Governor.
Despite the fact there was no bill submitted in 2018, and the one for 2019 was late, in December of 2019 House Republicans Robert “Alex” Andrade, Spencer Roach and Anthony Sabatini introduced HB 843, in another attempt to reform alimony laws in Florida for 2020. On January 13th, 2020, Senator Kelli Stargel joined fellow Republicans by introducing her own version of the alimony reform bill, SB 1832.
These new bills are requesting that the legislature accept and approve the following changes to our current alimony statue:
- Eliminate permanent alimony;
- Provide strict guidelines so that judges are faced with difficult decisions
during an alimony case;
- Prioritize the use of bridge-the-gap and rehabilitative alimony;
- Limit durational alimony to 50% of the total length of the marriage.
It also caps the durational alimony to 25% of the parties’ combined net
income and further caps the total considered net income at $300,000; 5. The obligee, a person who is owed alimony, will be responsible for
purchasing life insurance on the obligor, if they so desire. This removes
the burden from the payer being forced to carry a life insurance policy
with the former spouse as the beneficiary considered net income at $300,000
- Section two of the proposal allows the obligor to request a modification if he or she discovers the recipient has entered into a supportive relationship. On the flip side, the obligee can no longer request an increase of alimony based on income or assets provided by the payer’s new spouse;
- There is a potential to close the “infidelity clause” which will eliminate the act of infidelity during the marriage from being a consideration in calculating alimony support;
- Courts will no longer consider a divorcee’s “standard of living” when calculating alimony. If approved, the only applicable factors will be marriage duration, age and emotional condition, earnings and assets acquired during the marriage, and several other basic statutory standards;
- Finally, another element of the joint proposals is the presumption that shared parenting of minor children is 50/50.
There is belief that these bills will be well received by Gov. Ron DeSantis unlike the prior bill submitted in 2016. It should be mentioned that there is opposition against the bill from not only the national organization for women, but also the Florida bar, who have openly opposed the changes to the Alimony laws. We will continue to keep a close eye on any developments regarding this law and be sure to advise our clients in the event there are any changes.