Seven Ways Alimony Reform Will Affect Divorcing Couples in Florida

Seven Ways Alimony Reform Will Affect Divorcing Couples in Florida

The Alimony Reform Bill in Florida, effective July 1, 2023, eliminates permanent alimony and sets clear,  definitive guidelines when considering and calculating the amount of alimony in Florida. Before alimony reform passed in Florida alimony, there was no fixed formula. Alimony reform applies to all initial petitions for dissolution of marriage or support unconnected with dissolution of marriage pending or filed on or after July 1, 2023.

Alimony, or spousal support, is a legal obligation on a person to provide financial support to their spouse before, during or after divorce. The obligation arises from the divorce laws of each state. The reason for alimony is to provide financial support to the spouse who makes a lower income, or in some cases, no income at all.

  1. The primary consideration for alimony in Florida is still both financial need and ability to pay. But there are now predictable and consistent parameters for exploring alimony in mediation.
  2. The bill limits the length of an alimony award.
    • Alimony reform changes the length of time married as a classification of a marriages being either short- term, moderate-term, or long-term. A short-term marriage is changed to 0-10 years, a moderate- term marriage is changed to 10-20 years, and a long-term marriage is changed to 20 or more years duration.
    • Bridge-the-gap alimony remains limited to 2 years.
    • Rehabilitative alimony is limited to 5 years.
    • Durational alimony may only be awarded if the marriage lasted more than 3 years. Durational alimony may not exceed 50% of the length of a short-term marriage, 60% of the length of a moderate-term marriage, and 75% of the length of a long-term marriage.
  1. The courts may order alimony to be paid in periodic payments or a lump sum.
  2. The courts may consider adultery when deciding how much support is appropriate.
  3. A court must make specific written findings if it requires an obligor to purchase life insurance to secure the award of alimony.
  4. A parent moving to a residence within 50 miles of the primary residence of a child is a substantial change in circumstances. For a modification of parenting plan and time- sharing schedule, the bill eliminates a requirement that a party shows that a change in circumstance was unanticipated.
  5. Key Changes to Modification of an Existing Award of Alimony in Florida
  • The bill requires a court to reduce or terminate alimony upon specific written findings that the obligee is in a supportive relationship with another person.
  • The bill codifies standards and procedures related to retirement of a party in a dissolution of marriage case.
  • If the obligor seeks to retire, the obligor may apply for modification of the alimony award no sooner than 6 months prior to the planned retirement. The bill provides a number of factors the court must consider in determining whether to modify or terminate alimony.

Understanding Divorce Trends in a Sunshine State

As always at South Florida Mediation Services, Deborah Beylus is available to help you through this difficult process. Give me a call at (561) 789-0710 or an email at