On July 1st of this year, new alimony rules went into place in the state of Florida. The stated purpose behind the new laws was to make the so-called playing field a little more fair. This is because Florida’s alimony laws were considered antiquated by many. Women have moved into the workplace on a larger scale and salaries have increased.
The law caps the length of alimony as follows:
- Married 5-10 years: receive alimony for 50% of that time
- Married 10-20 years: receive alimony for 60% of that time
- Married 20+ years: receive alimony for 75% of that time
As an example, say a couple were married 40 years. In this case the alimony would be awarded for 30 years (75% of 40 years). Gone is the so-called ”permanent alimony” of the past.
Alimony would still stop when/if the person receiving it remarries.
Reaction to Florida’s New Alimony Law
Members of the “First Wives Advocacy Group,” a group made up primarily of elderly women who get perpetual alimony and claim that their lives would be irreparably altered without the payments, were outraged by the approval.
We are quite unhappy with the governor’s choice to sign the alimony-reform law on behalf of the hundreds of women our organization serves. We think that by signing it, the Governor put older ladies in a precarious position that would lead to financial ruin. The so-called party of ‘family values’ has just helped weaken the institution of marriage in Florida,” Jan Killilea, a 63-year-old Boca Raton resident who formed the organization ten years ago, said in a text message to The News Service of Florida on Friday.
While First Wives group members testified with tears in their eyes, the legislation also sparked fervent pleas from ex-spouses who claimed that they had been forced to work much past the age at which they wished to retire because they were responsible for alimony payments.
The bill’s passage was applauded by Michael Buhler, the head of Florida Family Fairness, an organization that has advocated against perpetual alimony.
“Florida Family Fairness is pleased that the Florida Legislature and Gov. DeSantis have passed a bill that ends permanent alimony and codifies in statute the right to retire for existing alimony payers,” said Buhler in a statement. “Anything that adds clarity and ends permanent alimony is a win for Florida families.”
A divorce attorney in Melbourne, FL commented: “When all is said and done and when the smoke clears, people will have adjusted to these new measures. There will be plenty of litigation in the meantime. And in response to the person’s concerns above, it should be noted that the new law is not retroactive. Only divorces which occur after July 1, 2023 are subject to the new rules.”
For divorces that occurred previously, they can still be re-litigated, but will be done under the previous law. You can consider this a kind of transitional period of time where old laws slowly turn into new laws and the community adjusts to them. And there is always the possibility that the law will be changed again when a new Governor takes office.