Florida Family Law might be soon experiencing significant changes that you should be aware of since it may affect future litigation. Below is a list of the most important changes that this new bill, that has been already approved by the majority in the House, could bring to Florida’s family law courts:
- The abolishment of permanent alimony;
- Removing the court’s ability to consider infidelity when determining the proper amount of alimony to be awarded;
- Removing the court’s ability to order that an obligor be financially responsible for maintaining or purchasing a life insurance for the benefit of the payee, but rather now allowing the payee to purchase such life insurance for the obligor’s life and require that the obligor cooperate;
- Limiting Rehabilitative alimony to a maximum of five years;
- Prohibiting durational alimony for marriages that lasted fewer than three years;
- Limiting the length of duration alimony to a maximum of 50% of the length of a marriage for marriages that lasted between 3 to 10 years, 60% of the length of a marriage for marriages that lasted between 10 years and 20, and 75% of the length of a marriage for marriages that lasted more than 20 years;
- The amount of durational alimony is now defined to be the obligee’s reasonable needs or an amount not to exceed 35% of the difference between the parties’ net income, whichever is less;
- Allowing durational alimony to end upon the obligor retiring if he/she meets the conditions set in the statute;
- Prohibiting an award of durational alimony if the payor is already retired at the time of the dissolution of marriage and doesn’t meet the exceptions set in the statute; and
- The new presumption that equal time-sharing of a minor child is in the best interest of a child.
You may ask yourself how these changes may affect your case. If these changes are incorporated to our family statutes, it may drastically reduce not only the duration of a durational alimony award but also the amount ordered to be paid. Furthermore, the option of eliminating alimony obligations upon reaching the age of retirement has been facilitated by providing a path to get this accomplished, if you qualify. Additionally, rulings on equal time sharing will increase as the standard shifts to encourage children to spend equal time with both parents.
When choosing a lawyer, it is important that you chose to work with a firm that understands the law and is aware when important changes occur. If you have an upcoming family law case and have questions on how these changes may benefit you, call Longwell Lawyers at (407) 553-9599.
About the author: This family/divorce law blog was written by Carmen Tankersley who is a skilled, trilingual attorney in Orlando specializing in family, divorce and criminal law. She can be reached for initial free consults by calling the Longwell Lawyers office in Orlando.