Alimony Reform 2020 Was Denied!
Much to the disappointment of many yet the approval of, even more, the Alimony Reform 2020 Bill in the Florida Courts was denied in early March. While this is a significant setback for many, it is not the end as there will be other bills in the future attempting to accomplish much the same thing. For those who aren’t sure what the bill was hoping to accomplish, the following summary should help.
Fundamentally it was hoped that permanent alimony in Florida would end. Permanent alimony is a type of Florida alimony, usually used when marriages are over l7 years in length, and one party has stayed home over much of the marriage. Sometimes a party stays home to raise the children, care for the home, and provide background support for the working spouse, Another reason permanent alimony is awarded is when one spouse has earned considerably more than the other and will likely continue to do so in the future. Considering a spouse’s standard of living is also done. Putting a spouse through an expensive education or career-building are other considerations for permanent alimony. And, permanent means just that, permanent, until the death of either party, or the recipient party remarries, or it can be proven the recipient enters into a cohabitating relationship with someone other than a family member. While it is true either party can return to court to try to modify the amount paid, there must be substantial, material, and unanticipated before the final decree reasons. As time goes on, having to pay alimony can become a burden for the person having to pay, and yet there is no acceptable court reason to change the amount. And, even if there appears to be a good reason t change the amount of permanent alimony, it is expensive to retain an attorney, go through mediation, and, if mediation is not successful, pay for court costs. It has been said that attempting to modify permanent alimony is just about as complicated and expensive as a divorce.
While permanent alimony is the main type of alimony affected in the Alimony Reform 2020 bill, other types of alimony would have been affected as well. It would prioritize the use of rehabilitative and bridge-the-gap alimony, cap durational alimony at 25% of the combined net income of both parties not to exceed $300.00, and limit durational alimony to 50% of the number of years married. Additionally, a former spouse paying alimony would no longer need to carry a life insurance policy with the former spouse as the beneficiary, and a person obligated to pay alimony could retire and not have to worry about their retirement being garnisheed. An increase in alimony could no longer be requested if the payor remarries and his or her new spouse has an income adding additional funds. The standard of living would no longer be a consideration. And, proven adultery would not be considered a reason for awarding alimony.
So it is, many persons, both clients and professionals, have, for some years, tried to eliminate permanent alimony as well as make changes to other kinds of alimony and some of the tag-ons that go with an award or alimony as it is known today. Lawmakers in the state of Florida, including House Republicans Robert Andarde, Spencer Roach, Anthony Sabatini, and Senator Kelli Stargel, have put together bills which, to date, have not passed. Keep watching, however, the push to reform alimony in the state of Florida is not over.