Florida Alimony Law 2023: Permanent Alimony Eliminated
Governor Ron DeSantis signed legislation on Friday (SB 1416) overhauling divorce law in Florida. The most sweeping change eliminates permanent alimony and revises the factors that courts must consider when awarding alimony.
The new law took effect on July 1. The bill is not retroactive and will only apply to divorces filed on or after July 1, 2023.
Here are some of the key changes:
Permanent alimony has been eliminated. There are now four types of alimony in Florida, including:
- Temporary – A judge can award temporary alimony when a couple has separated, but has not yet divorced, or if the divorce is not yet finalized through the court system. An award of temporary alimony is appealable during the pendency of a divorce case.
- Bridge-the-gap – The length of the award cannot exceed 2 years, and it is not modifiable in amount or duration
- Rehabilitative – The length of the award cannot exceed 5 years, and it can be modified or terminated based on certain circumstances
- Durational – This will allow for economic assistance for a set period, but it cannot be awarded following a marriage of less than 3 years
Courts may order alimony to be paid in a lump sum or as periodic payments. Courts may also consider adultery of either spouse and its economic impact in determining the amount of alimony awarded.
Calculate alimony with our free Florida alimony calculator
Courts shall consider all of the following relevant factors when determining alimony:
- The standard of living established during the marriage and the anticipated needs and necessities of life for each party after the entry of the final judgment
- The duration of the marriage
- The age, physical, mental, and emotional condition of each party, including whether either party is physically or mentally disabled and the resulting impact on either the obligee’s ability to provide for his or her own needs or the obligor’s ability to pay alimony and whether such conditions are expected to be temporary or permanent.
- The resources and income of each party, including the income generated from both non-marital and marital assets
- The earning capacities, educational levels, vocational skills, and employability of the parties, including the ability of either party to obtain the necessary skills or education to become self-supporting or to contribute to his or her self-support prior to the termination of the support, maintenance, or alimony award
- The contribution of each party to the marriage, including, but not limited to, services rendered in homemaking, child care, education, and career building of the other party
- The responsibilities each party will have with regard to any minor children whom the parties they have in common, with special consideration given to the need to care for a child with a mental or physical disability
- Any other factor necessary for equity and justice between the parties, which shall be specifically identified in the written findings of fact
DeSantis vetoed an alimony bill in 2022. Former Florida Gov. Rick Scott vetoed two alimony bills. The Florida Bar’s Family Law Section supported this year’s version.
Here is what Attorney Moses DeWitt told Florida Politics:
“We don’t expect the changes to alimony in Florida to have a profound effect on what we do at the DeWitt Law Firm,” said lawyer Moses DeWitt. “It’s simply going to codify a lot of what the case law already says. While there are some changes, I don’t think we will see a significant impact on the amount or length of most alimony awards. The changes likely won’t be as drastic as some think they are going to be.”
If you have questions or concerns about divorce in Florida, contact the DeWitt Law Firm at 407-245-7723.