Alimony reform in Florida has taken another step forward! The Florida House Judiciary Committee has approved the Alimony Reform Bill HB 943 in a 12 to 3 vote. This vote concludes the committee hearings in the House and now there are two more Senate committees that must approve the bill. If this is accomplished, both Legislative Chambers will have floor votes on the bill. From there, the final bill must be approved by Governor Scott.
This bill will overhaul the state’s alimony laws and terminate permanent alimony for future Florida divorces. The bill sponsors believe it will end disparate results in similar divorce cases and also reduce the amount of litigation involved in divorce and alimony disputes.
“This has been a well-studied, well-thought out bill,” Rep. Coleen Burton (R-Lakeland) said. “In the state of Florida, if a family goes through the unfortunate circumstances of divorce, it is emotionally taxing, it is financially devastating in some cases. This bill helps soften that blow. What we can do as a state and as a Legislature is, regardless of where [divorcing couples] are in the state of Florida, they can expect a similar result.”
The bill establishes two formulas for calculating the lower and upper ranges of alimony payments and also for the duration of an alimony award. Of course, the final determination will be left to the judge, but the presumption is that shorter marriages will fall at the lower end of the alimony award spectrum while longer marriages will fall at the higher end.
The bill permits adjustments in an alimony award if there is a significant change (10% or more) in income. This means that the paying spouse can seek a reduction in his or her support payment if the receiving spouse obtains a higher paying job or remarries. In contrast, the paying spouse cannot be ordered to pay more in support if he or she remarries and the new spouse has an income or if the paying spouse obtains an additional job in an effort to earn more.
We will continue to monitor the progress of the Florida Alimony Reform Bill. If you are facing divorce or you have other family law needs, our legal team is here to help. Contact the Men’s Divorce Law Firm to schedule a consultation with a caring professional, and aggressive advocate for men’s rights in divorce, child timesharing (custody), and paternity matters.