House Bill 283 has been filed regarding alimony reform. It is identical to the last version of the HOUSE bill from 2016 (no 50/50 timesharing). The bill has also been filed in the Senate, in substantially identical form but the Senate has not assigned numbers as of yet.
This bill, in substantially similar terms has made it to the Governor twice to be vetoed because of the 50/50 timesharing issue.
The bill is a complete overhaul to alimony in Florida. It creates a presumption of alimony in all marriages in excess of 2 years as well as creates guidelines for amounts and durations. It creates a presumption against alimony in marriages of 2 years or less, absent clear and convincing evidence of why it should be paid.
A few highlights:
- Temporary alimony requires need and ability and the guidelines do not apply
- The presumptive low end for duration is 25% the length and high end is 75% of the length.
- To determine amount for the low end: (.015 x length of marriage) x difference in gross income of the parties. High end is (.020 x length of marriage) x difference in gross incomes of the parties
- For marriages of greater than 20 years, 20 years is used to determine amount UNLESS the court is ordering alimony for a duration of less than or equal to ½ the length of the marriage, then the court uses the actual length of the marriage or 25 years if the marriage is in excess of 25 years
- 14 factors the court now uses in determining where in the range amount and duration will be, including standard of living, tax consequences, need to stay home with a child, etc.
- Codifies nominal alimony
- Codifies ability for court to make alimony non-taxable, non-deductible
- Clarifies that alimony and child support combined cannot exceed 55% of payors net income and if it does child support is reduced
- Codifies special circumstances for security for alimony award
- Creates requirements for what must be in an alimony award judgement, including a finding of ability to pay by the payor and specifically setting forth amount and duration
- Establishes ability to deviate from guidelines with specific findings
- Creates new ways to modify and codifies Pimm (with some modification)
- If actual income of spouse who was imputed income exceeds imputed income by 10%, that is a substantial change for modification – well unless you are the payor and the Final Judgment says that the payor was underemployed at time alimony award was established and the court did not impute income
- Allows for customary retirement age to be basis to modify – and permits filing within year of customary retirement age and permits finding by court if retired before customary age that it was okay based on various factors and required findings. If this is found, then that is a substantial change and presumption arises that court will modify or terminate alimony unless overcome by meeting specific guidelines in bill. Also permits temporary modification.
- Removes the requirement for cohabitation in supportive relationship
- Does not require the supportive relationship to be in existence at time of trial, so long as it existed within year of filing
- Establishes that 6 months of changed income is a substantial change
- Provides fee award for unnecessarily bringing or defending against a modification of alimony claim
- Applies to all initial and modification actions pending on 10/1/2017
- The statute is not alone a basis to modify.
Here is a link to the PDF of the House version: