How Does the New Alimony Law Impact Me? Tips from a Board-Certified Expert

By: Kim Maxwell, B.C.S. OLDER LUNDY KOCH & MARTINO

I Am Already Divorced and Am a Payor or Recipient of Alimony…

After nearly ten years and multiple bill submissions to overhaul Florida’s alimony law, Governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill in June that significantly changed Florida’s alimony statute. The new law applies to initial divorce proceedings pending as of July 1, 2023, and those initiated after July 1, 2023. Accordingly, if your divorce was finalized and a judgment was entered prior to July 1, 2023, the court-ordered alimony obligation will remain in place and will not be subject to change, unless you qualify for modification. In other words, the new law will not retroactively modify alimony obligations established prior to July 1, 2023.

My Divorce is Pending or I Am Considering Divorce in the Near Future…

The most significant change to the alimony law is the removal of what was previously referred to as “permanent periodic alimony,” which was awarded in long-term marriages of seventeen years or more if a need for such support was established. The new law provides guidelines for the duration of alimony depending on the length of the parties’ marriage. In short-term marriages of zero to ten years in length, the court can order a term of alimony up to 50% of the length of the marriage. In moderate-term marriages of ten to twenty years in length, the court can order a term of alimony up to 60% of the length of the marriage. Finally, in long-term marriages of twenty or more years, the court can order a term of alimony of up to 75% of the length of the marriage. After considering various factors, the court can order a duration less than these benchmarks but cannot order a duration that exceeds the benchmarks without the existence of exceptional circumstances. Exceptional circumstances under the new statute include, but are not limited to, inability to self-support in whole or part, disability of the recipient spouse, or disability of a child who is cared for by the recipient spouse.

As to the amount of alimony, the court considers several factors, which include the anticipated needs and necessities of life and the other party’s ability to contribute to those needs. While this analysis has been the general standard for many years and continues to be a part of the court’s consideration, the new law also establishes a guideline for the determination of the amount of durational alimony. The court will consider the following: (1) the reasonable need of the individuals seeking alimony after considering their net income and abilities to contribute to their own needs, and (2) an amount not to exceed 35% of the difference between the net incomes of the parties. Subject to a finding of the payor’s ability to pay, the court will order whichever amount is less.

I Want to Modify an Existing Alimony Order…

Not every alimony order is modifiable. Oftentimes, parties contract for non-modifiable alimony which eliminates both parties’ ability to modify the alimony obligation. Without such restrictive terms as to modifiability, the law allows a party to modify, or terminate, alimony based on certain circumstances. The most common circumstances involve retirement or the existence of a supportive relationship. Generally, when a party reaches a reasonable retirement age and income is reduced as a result of retirement, the payor spouse may seek modification to reduce or terminate alimony. Further, in the event the recipient spouse has not remarried, but enters into a “supportive relationship” such that they receive support directly or indirectly from another relationship, the alimony may be modified or terminated to reflect the current needs of the former spouse. Although alimony obligations have been modifiable based on retirement and the existence of supportive relationships for some time, the new law codified and clarified the existing case law.

I Need Advice on What to Do Next

Whether you are a current alimony recipient or payor, or may become one in the near future, the new law may have a significant impact on your financial future. You should consult with an attorney specializing in marital and family law to develop strategies and understand how the new law may affect your case.

Kim Hamill

Kim A. (Hamill) Maxwell, Esq., B.C.S. is a Board-Certified Expert in Marital and Family Law by the Florida Bar. She has devoted her practice to marital and family law and represented parties in both litigated and collaborative settings. Kim has a background in finance, as well as an M.B.A., which provides her with a unique ability to assist parties in complex financial matters.

OLDER LUNDY KOCH & MARTINO is a multi-specialty law firm with four offices in the Tampa Bay area. Regardless of the issue, OLKM attorneys have the skills and interdisciplinary expertise to consistently deliver extraordinary service and results, whether it’s business or personal. To learn more visit olderlundylaw.com.

You May Also Like

Cyberattacks are Increasing: Don’t Ignore These Risks

By Kadian Douglas, prinicipal with CLA Tampa As cyberattacks become more frequent, and sophisticated, cybersecurity awareness is critical for organizations to help protect their assets and reputation. Be alert for

Governor Ron DeSantis reappoints Andrew J. Mayts Jr. to the 13th Judicial Circuit Judicial Nominating Commission

Shumaker Partner and Public Sector Chair Andrew J. Mayts has been reappointed to the 13th Judicial Circuit Judicial Nominating Commission, by Governor Ron DeSantis. As a member of the 13th

Preparing your business for a hurricane

By David Pettinato, Esquire OLDER LUNDY KOCH & MARTINO Storm season is quickly approaching. For over 25 years, I have been successfully advocating for my client’s rights for coverage under

Older Lundy Koch & Martino partner to be installed as next president-elect for the Hillsborough County Bar Association

Anthony D. Martino, a partner with Older Lundy Koch & Martino, will be installed as the next president-elect for the Hillsborough County Bar Association. His previous roles on the HCBA

Other Posts

Older Lundy opens fifth office in downtown St. Petersburg

Older Lundy has opened the firm’s fifth office, in downtown St. Petersburg, through the acquisition of Heller Law, a business and commercial litigation law firm. Sam Heller, managing and founding

One Liners Hillsborough: Tampa Museum of Art, Synapse and more

► Sal Y Mar Rooftop Bar, located at the top of the dual-branded Aloft and Element Hotel, in Midtown Tampa, launched a new dinner menu, curated by Executive Chef Johnathan

Cover Update: Michael Lundy

In October 2019, when Michael Lundy graced the cover of Tampa Bay Business and Wealth, he shared big plans for OLDER LUNDY, including expanding into Pinellas County.  As founder and

Scenes from TBBW’s 2023 Apogee Awards VIP reception (PHOTOS)

Tampa Bay Business and Wealth held its 2023 Apogee Awards VIP reception for sponsors and finalists. The Apogee Awards is a unique awards program, created by TBBW magazine, to recognize