Florida legislators have been debating alimony laws in the state for much of the past decade. The latest attempt at alimony reform is making its way through the legislature again.
If the latest version of the bill passes, how will it change the law?
What the bill proposes
Like previous bills, the current proposed legislation seeks to eliminate permanent alimony. If the bill passes, ex-spouses currently making alimony payments can ask for a modification to their alimony agreements when they retire.
What the impact on alimony could be
If the bill passes, judges will be able to terminate or reduce alimony, maintenance or support payments based on several factors:
- Health and age of the paying spouse
- Customary retiring age for the paying spouse’s profession
- Likelihood of returning to work
- Economic impact of reducing or ending alimony payments
Unlike previous bills, the proposed legislation gives judges the ability to modify alimony agreements rather than requiring them to do so.
Arguments for and against the legislation
Supporters claim that lifetime alimony obligations force some individuals to continue to work past when they would otherwise retire. Opponents say it is unfair to retroactively modify existing agreements. They also argue that it may impact spouses who never received the required alimony payments from their ex-spouse. These proposed changes could have severe consequences for older women who rely on alimony as their only source of income.
Alimony is a contentious issue that can have a significant impact on the living standards of both ex-spouses. People who are currently paying or receiving alimony should prepare for these potential changes.