Alimony reform ending permanent alimony now in hands of Governor

TALLAHASSEE – Alimony reform is now in the hands of Florida Governor Rick Scott. If passed, the changes would include: ending permanent alimony; a formula for calculating amount and duration; and requiring judges to start with the “premise” that children should spend an “approximately equal” amount of time with each parent. Here are the details:

The current bill on Governor Rick Scott’s desk is one that would end permanent alimony in Florida.

  • It provides a mathematical formula to determine a range for the amount and duration of alimony.
  • It would determine an amount and duration of alimony payments.
  • If passed, the new bill will not apply retroactively. It applies to all initial determinations of alimony and modifications pending as of October 1, 2016, and those brought after.
  • The new bill would mandate judges to use alimony guidelines to follow.
  • Formula for amount:
    • Low End: 0.015 times the number of years married, multiplied by the difference in gross income of the divorcing couple.
    • High End:that multiplier number rises to 0.020; however the max multiple is 20 years.
  • In marriages of 20 years or more, for purposes of calculating the presumptive alimony amount range, 20 years of marriage shall be used.
  • If a judge deviates away from these guidelines he or she must explain why in writing.
  • Marriage of 2 years of less, there is a presumption no alimony shall be awarded, unless the judge makes written findings that there is a clear and convincing need for alimony, etc.
  • Longer marriages would mean an amount on the higher end or a longer duration of payments.
  • Governor Scott has 15 days to sign or veto this bill from the time it was sent to him.

Over objections from Florida’s Family Law Section, the bill would also require judges in setting up time-sharing schedules to start with the “premise” that children should spend an “approximately equal” amount of time with each parent.

Stay tuned here for updates.